If last Thursday was the day to give thanks, today is the day to show it. This is Giving Tuesday, the fifth annual observance of philanthropy.
A New York City cultural center, the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, launched Giving Tuesday to connect individuals, communities and organizations around the globe with the idea of celebrating and encouraging giving. They picked the perfect date – following the consumer excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – to remind us all the season means more than gifts to family and friends.
Giving Tuesday in 2015 raised $116.7 million from 700,000 donors. About 10,000 organizations benefited from the focus on philanthropy. In Fort Wayne, numerous nonprofit organizations are participating today. Allen County SPCA has an anonymous donor who will match up to $10,000 in donations.
"This is the second year we’ve participated," said Executive Director Jessica Henry. "Last year, (the donor) matched up to $5,000. We met that and exceeded it, so this year they are matching up to $10,000."
Henry said the shelter, which is not related to the national ASPCA, operates entirely on local donations. Gifts received at any time support daily operations at the Hanna Street shelter, which is on track to send 2,500 animals to homes this year.
"If we raise $20,000 (today), that will save at least 200 animals’ lives," she said.
Henry and other shelter staff will take advantage of social media to reach potential donors, including Facebook Live posts featuring adoptable cats and dogs.
DonorsChoose.org is another option in offering gifts for local impact. The website matches donors with public school classrooms in their communities. Teachers are invited to describe a classroom project or need, and donors pledge a monetary gift.
"My classroom is made up of 17 wiggly boys and 7 sweet girls," writesMrs. Braun at Prince Chapman Academy. "With longer periods of sitting throughout the day, these items will help those students who need more movement while working. The wiggly cushions, wobble chairs, and bouncy bands will allow those students who need to move while working to be able to move with a purpose."
You can log onto DonorsChoose and search for Fort Wayne-area schools to support.
Take a moment on this Giving Tuesday to make a gift – big or small – to any area nonprofit. Then sit back and enjoy the satisfaction of sharing the spirit of the season.