You’ve no doubt heard of Black Friday and the yearly onslaught of violence brought on by rampant consumerism. Black Friday’s digital cousin, Cyber Monday, doesn’t fare much better, with shoppers simply opting to remain in the comfort of their own homes, scouting out sales on mass produced goods. It can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all: 75% off a coffee maker! Buy one tablet, get three free! 50% off your entire purchase before 8am! I’ll admit that the allure is often difficult to resist, but this year I did indeed resist, and my pocketbook was grateful for it. I couldn’t bear the idea of entering another department store, buzzing with caffeinated patrons. Mostly, though, I was saving my money for today: #GivingTuesday.
This year is the second annual Giving Tuesday, in which individuals are encouraged to form a community of philanthropy, supporting non-profit organizations and their charitable endeavors. The project originated at New York’s 92nd Street Y, but quickly gained momentum when the United Nations Foundation and other notable non-profits joined its forces. In 2012, Giving Tuesday raised over $10 million in online donations, with more than 2,500 partners in all 50 states. This year, due to an incredible response, the organization actually had to stop accepting partners! To view this year’s registered partners, please click here. In order to donate, individuals must contribute through the partner website of their choice.
Here’s a brief sampling of some of the inspiring charities partnering with Giving Tuesday:
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS): GEMS works with girls and young women who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, empowering them to reach their full potential.
The Foundation for Sex Positive Culture: This organization’s mission is to discuss sex in a positive light, promoting the bonding of interpersonal relationships, spiritual growth, and emotional and physical health through advocacy, education, outreach, and the arts.
The Domestic Violence Resource Center: The DVRC will use funds raised to support victims of domestic violence by providing them with housing and orders of protection.
Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM): This animal rights organization is looking to raise $25,000 for its 10 Billion Lives Tour, which aims to educate young people about factory farming and making compassionate food choices.
Seeds of Peace: Uniting young leaders from regions of intense conflict, Seeds of Peace seeks to equip new generations with relationships, skills, and understanding to create an atmosphere of peace. The organization currently works in the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States.
Even if you took part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, still consider participating in this new tradition of giving. This is the season of effective altruism, after all, and what better way to help others than by contributing to reputable charities? There’s always the argument that monetary assistance is some sort of cop-out, and that real philanthropy only exists in the realm of soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters, and food banks. I’m a firm believer that goodness can exist in any form and location; so long as the cause is noble and the intention is pure, we should honor our efforts to improve the world. Now, start giving!
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Photo: Giving Tuesday