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Giving Tuesday encourages charity after consumption

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

There is a day to give thanks. There are two days to get shopping deals. Now there is a day to give back.

#GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a global day dedicated to charitable giving and volunteerism.

Consider it the counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Organizers of the national movement say it’s a day to shift the focus of the holiday season from consumerism to community. It’s also a chance for anyone to be a philanthropist for a day.

In Metro Detroit and across Michigan, dozens of nonprofits, schools and groups that advocate for the homeless, animal rescue and hospice are using social media to promote Giving Tuesday, encouraging people to donate money or volunteer their time to help others.

Amy Wieland, executive director of Hospice of Northwest Michigan in Charlevoix, which is participating in Giving Tuesday for the first time this year, said the event is getting the conversation started on giving at a time when many are focused on consumption.

“When I tell people about Giving Tuesday, they say ‘What is that? What does it mean?’ It’s a conversation piece. It gets people thinking about alternative giving,” Wieland said. “Do you really need another spatula or another set of sheets, or you can do something as a family and give?”

In its third year, Giving Tuesday is picking up steam. Last year, the event raised an estimated $27 million, with more than 10,000 partner organizations in 50 states and more than 15 countries.

This year it has more than 13,000 partners across all 50 states, including corporations like Microsoft, Toys R Us and eBay; small businesses like White Butterfly Giftshop and Jump Start Labs; nonprofit organizations like the American Red Cross and YMCA of the USA; cities like Lansing and Anchorage; and states such as Maryland and Illinois, as well as 11 countries.

Giving Tuesday was started in 2012, by New York City-based 92nd Street Y, which launched the event in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

“We thought there was space for a day to talk about giving just like getting great deals. We thought social media can be used to facilitate a conversation about philanthropy,” said Asha Curran, director of 92Y’s Center for Innovation and Social Impact.

Hospice of Northwest Michigan has joined Giving Tuesday, hoping to inspire people to “take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world,” according to its website.

The Michigan Animal Rescue League is also part of the Giving Tuesday campaign. Executive director Magee Humes said her Pontiac-based nonprofit relies on private donations to care for between 130-150 dogs and cats on any given day.

“We can use volunteers year round, but Giving Tuesday tends to get people excited about volunteering. It gives us that boost,” Humes said.

A list of Metro Detroit groups hosting Giving Tuesday events is at