Happy #GivingTuesday! After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is exactly what the world needs…what we all need…to balance out our intentions.
Here’s a description of what today – a newer holiday – means, from GivingTuesday.org,
Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.
#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.
As a global movement, #GivingTuesday unites countries around the world by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.
As a 20-something, I know that it can be so challenging to justify philanthropy. Last year, as an AmeriCorps member, I legitimately did not have $10 to donate. (However, to be honest, that was all OK because I donated basically all my time.) But this year, as a young professional, even gearing up to pay graduate school tuition, I realize that just $10 makes a huge difference. I also have a large list of nonprofits that I absolutely, positively adore, that have made a huge impact on me and others.
Summer on the Hill
I spend my Saturdays teaching for this organization that shares the resources of a very well-off prep school with students who are more local to the Bronx neighborhood that prep school inhabits. These are students who are traditionally disadvantaged, but academically gifted. From their website:
SUMMER ON THE HILL (SOH) has had an outstanding impact on education for 21 years!
A year-round enrichment program for bright, low-income students from the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem, SOH has placed 300 students in college and 58 students in NYC specialized science or audition high schools.
Girls Write Now
For four years, I was a mentee with GWN so I know firsthand the tremendous impact this organization has on young lives. Through the support of GWN, I received a scholarship that enabled me to graduate from my elite private alma mater debt-free. But that is so not even close to how awesome GWN is. It allowed me to identify as a writer at the age of 15 and it supported me wholeheartedly and gently through the writing process, which can be a tumultuous one. From the website:
“Writing is a way to understand the world and myself. This is just the beginning.” —Massange Kamara, mentee
Girls Write Now is poised for significant growth with a strategic plan to double the number of girls we serve and to enhance our college prep and alumnae services, extending the support we provide young women writers into college, career, and beyond. There is no better time to invest.
We work on the basis of intense commitment – the girls who participate sign up for a demanding year of daily effort and constant challenge as they learn various genres of writing and a range of life skills. Girls Write Now promises an equally intensive investment, one that is highly effective and economical compared to similar services.
Girls on the Run
I witnessed the power of GOTR in Portland, OR last year as I coached the most amazing third through fifth graders to set a goal and achieve it. GOTR teaches so many social-emotional skills for students. From the website:
We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
Exhale to Inhale
This utterly profound organization empowers yoga teachers to empower the disempowered: survivors of domestic violence. Bringing yoga to domestic violence shelters is no small feat. I very strongly encourage you to donate to this amazing organization. From their website:
People ask us, “why yoga?” Our answer, is that the resources people gain through yoga are at the very foundation of our lives – the ability to breathe, to gain physical and emotional strength, and to make healthy life choices, which in turn, helps us to better care for our loved ones.
For the women we serve, yoga provides them with a tool to heal and to feel strong and safe in their bodies so that they can help to end the cycle of violence in their families and communities. Physically, domestic violence often leaves survivors with long-lasting medical conditions that can be mitigated by yoga such as broken bones, head trauma, and nerve damage. Emotionally, survivors may begin to feel empowered that they are doing something that will help them heal physically and emotionally, to help them view their bodies as a safe place again, to calm their nervous systems, and decrease their levels of anxiety.
Yoga is an empowering tool with far-reaching benefits that carry over off of the mat and into everyday life. The yoga mat is a safe place where people can begin to reconnect with themselves, to practice making choices, express when something doesn’t feel right to them, and figure out what would work better. For many women, the time spent on their mats is the first time, possibly in years, that they have been able to feel safe and breathe evenly.
I was very involved with this organization through working at unfold last year. They do great work by bringing yoga to schools in Portland, OR, and bringing free recovery yoga to studios around the city. They work on researching and directly implementing their research involving yoga + trauma. From their website:
When you give to Living Yoga, you’re giving the gift of hope and healing to another human being. Every day we see lives transformed in big and small ways because of the yoga classes we are able to offer with your support.
Chances are you have experienced the profound effects of yoga in your own life. You understand the depth of healing and change that is possible through practice. That is why we ask you to give generously to Living Yoga. To empower others who are at critical moments in their life-in prison or in treatment for addictions, to experience this same potential.
As part of what it means to grow up on OM, donate. Forgo the lunch out just one day and spend just $10 on one of these organizations. If my seven-year-old sister can do it with her accrued allowance, use 20-somethings can too.
P.S. Even if donating isn’t one of your spiritual practices as a 20-something, chances are that online shopping is. AmazonSmile is a great way to pick out any of these organizations and basically have Amazon donate on behalf of you. Oh, hay, no excuses approach to philanthropy!