#Giving Tuesday was created seven years ago by a team from the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City that has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back since 1874. #GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations in order to celebrate and encourage giving.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the US), #Giving Tuesday partners with registered non-profits that organize specific #Giving Tuesday initiatives, with businesses that organize events to benefit a specific non-profit, and with giving platforms.
One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. Checkout what is happening near you. Download the Toolkit for ideas. If you’re involved with a non-profit, join the movement. You don’t have to give money; you can give time, give a gift or add the power of your voice in your local community.
SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO
Families and individuals are encouraged to be generous in ways that are important to them, whether that means volunteering at a local charity or donating to a favorite cause. Here are some things you can do.
- Donate non-perishable food from your pantry to a local food bank.
- Do a Home Treasure Hunt in which you find unused kitchen tools, dishes, towels, sheets, toys, books, and school supplies and donate them to an organization that helps people get set up in new homes.
- Collect gently used gloves, skarves, hats or mittens from your neighborhood, church or school and donate them to a homeless shelter.
- Hold a neighborhood garage sale or bake sale and donate the proceeds to a local organization in need.
- Skip treats for a week and donate the money you would have spent to your local food depot.
IMPORTANT WAYS TO GIVE
Model giving during the holiday season and throughout the year. Here are five worthy efforts to consider for #Giving Tuesday.
Paws of War is a non-profit organization that matches veterans with trained service dogs that they need and that can help them through tough times: many veterans of foreign wars suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A 2018 Purdue University study reports that veterans with PTSD may benefit physiologically from using service dogs. In fact, they found that there may be significant scientific evidence of potential mental health benefits experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs. Paws of War rescues most of their dogs from shelters and provides them with the intensive service dog training that they need in order to help the veterans they are paired up with. The veterans receive a service dog in training at no expense to them.
Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. It helps families make smart media choices through offering the largest, most trusted library and independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, app, TV shows, websites, books and music. They also provide high-quality digital literacy and citizenship programs to educators and school communities. You can donate to the organization in general or specifically support programs such as
- Research into digital balance and well-being
- Funding the revamped Digital Citizenship Curriculum
- Backing collaboration with legislators in California and other states to draft the most comprehensive consumer privacy in history
Now through December 12, zulily is teaming up with Penguin Random House and First Book to help provide books to children in need across the country. zulily launched a special sales events that will feature a curated selection of children’s books. Each Penguin Random House book purchased labeled with the “BUY 1, GIVE 1” badge will trigger a new children’s book donation, up to 100,000 books, to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and other essentials to children in need nationwide. In addition, each time a shopper likes, shares or comments on a Books for Kids social media post, a book donation will be triggered.
In its first decade, Grameen Foundation worked with a network of microfinance institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East to extend microfinance to the world’s poorest people. Grameen Foundation provided its partner organizations with financing and technical support. By 2009, the 52-member network had provided micro-loans and other services to 10.9 million people. In 2016, Grameen Foundation and the global nonprofit Freedom from Hunger decided to join forces to use Grameen Foundation’s expertise in digital innovation to end poverty and Freedom from Hunger’s focus on providing the world’s poorest women with self-help tools to reduce hunger and poverty.
In 2000, Charles Best, a history teacher at a Bronx public high school, wanted his students to read Little House on the Prairie. As he was making photocopies of the one book he could procure, Charles thought about all the money he and his colleagues were spending on books, art supplies, and other materials. And he figured there were people out there who’d want to help — if they could see where their money was going. Charles sketched out a website where teachers could post classroom project requests, and donors could choose the ones they wanted to support. His colleagues posted the first 11 requests. Then it spread. Today, the organization is open to every public school in America. Donors Choice has vetted and fulfilled over 600,000 classroom project requests that range from butterfly cocoons, to robotics kits, to Little House on the Prairie.
THE EVOLUTION OF GIVING
It’s appropriate that Giving Tuesday should come right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’re becoming a society that combines getting with giving. And, commerce increasingly supports the charitable sector through social entrepreneurship. When I was young, society could not bear to speak about the suffering of the world’s people; now, we are doing something about it. Things get better with our steady efforts to make them so. Do whatever you can this holiday season and throughout the year.
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place. I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.