Editor’s Note: Pause today to give

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

The holiday shopping season is off to a fabulous start. Retailers report strong gains on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the theme days aimed at teasing money out of the pockets of consumers.

The increased spending is a strong indicator of an improving economy, greater confidence in the future and healthier household budgets.

Hopefully, the string will continue today when nonprofits make their Giving Tuesday pitches.

Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is a great concept that has been steadily growing in its impact.

It’s designed to use the power of social media and the internet to boost donations to charitable and cultural institutions during the holidays.

Most nonprofits now have Giving Tuesday programs, and many include matching grants that double the amount of individual gifts.

In 2015, $177 million was donated online nationwide through Giving Tuesday initiatives, and the average gift was $107.

America is the most generous nation in the world, according to the Charitable Aid Foundation, and that may have a lot to do with its comparatively low tax rates. The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies found that among industrialized nations, per-capita charitable giving goes up when taxes go down.

That may be a factor of more disposable income, or it may be that in high-tax welfare states, citizens assume their tax dollars are taking care of social and cultural needs.

Whatever the reason, Americans have proved themselves a charitable people, and hopefully will demonstrate that again today.

Giving Tuesday may seem a bit gimmicky. But if nothing else it serves as a reminder to pause from our holiday spending sprees and think about the organizations in our community that are working to better our quality of life.

Tune in from 7-9 a.m. today for a special Giving Tuesday edition of The Nolan Finley Show on the 910AM Superstation.