BRATTLEBORO -- The Connecticut River Watershed Council is looking for a few good "river lovers" -- 410 of them, to be exact.

The nonprofit is participating in the second "Valley Gives" online fund-raiser scheduled for Thursday.

While that is a western Massachusetts-centered event, and the watershed council is based in Greenfield, Mass., administrators are hoping that anyone who cares about the Connecticut River will donate.

They're hoping for 410 donors -- one for each mile of the river that divides Vermont and New Hampshire, then flows through Massachusetts and Connecticut before discharging into Long Island Sound.

"The Connecticut River is at the heart of our region's history, economy and quality of life," said Dana Gillette, the council's development director. "Anyone, everywhere, can show their support."

Valley Gives is organized by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and is billed as a "one-of-a-kind celebration of generosity."

It happens exclusively online at Those who want to donate can search for their favored organization or cause and then donate using a credit or debit card between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

Donations also can be scheduled in advance on the website.

Last year, more than 6,000 people donated more than $1 million to nonprofits participating in Valley Gives. And the Connecticut River Watershed Council did well, raising more than $13,000.

Administrators are lobbying for an even bigger showing this year, and they're directing potential donors to access the fund drive via

There are incentives for a strong showing.

"We have match money. We have donors who are going to match the first $5,000, dollar-for-dollar," Gillette said.

There is another $1,000 available if the organization meets the 410-donor goal.

"Every gift is going to help protect the river," Gillette said.

Council leaders point to the variety of their activities in the watershed, promoting a donation to the organization as a gift that "benefits you, your river and your community."

For instance, the council organizes the annual "source to sea" cleanup. The council's work also includes river monitoring, advocacy, education, restoration and collaboration with agencies, other organizations and residents.

Gillette singled out some recent advocacy work in Vermont, saying the council has spearheaded "a multiyear effort to get Vermont Yankee to stop its thermal pollution of the river."

The council also is involved in lobbying for environmental changes related to the proposed relicensing of five hydropower facilities that together impact more than 175 miles of the Connecticut River.

That includes the Bellows Falls and Vernon dams.

"We really are at a time where we have the opportunity to have a real impact on the river," Gillette said.

Mike Faher can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.