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Support Your Favorite Local Causes on Giving Tuesday


Black Friday has been around for years as a way to kick off holiday shopping. In the age of the Internet, we also have Cyber Monday for those who prefer to do their shopping online. Small Business Saturday encourages people to look locally for gifts, and Giving Tuesday kicks off the season of giving with a day focused on philanthropy.


What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is now in its fourth year and takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

It was established by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, a cultural association in New York City that focuses on education, culture, arts, entertainment and conversation, according to the Giving Tuesday website, which further explains:

“#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. A team of influencers and founding partners joined forces—collaborating across sectors, offering expertise and working tirelessly—to launch #GivingTuesday and have continued to shape, grow and strengthen the movement.”

More than 30,000 partners in 68 countries now take part in the drive to encourage charitable giving, and estimates say that donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving have gone up 470 percent since the program began.

Where Can I Give?

Of course any charitable organization would be happy to accept a donation on this or any other day of the year, but in Arkansas there are many different organizations that take part in Giving Tuesday and see it as an important part of their fundraising year.

“This year, Giving Tuesday is essential to us,” said Denise Bembenek, business development manager and special events coordinator for Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc., a nonprofit based in Fayetteville that provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries. “In just over a year, Soldier ON has grown to serve over a dozen veterans in our community, and we are the only organization of our kind in the state.  But, we need help to keep it up and to continue growing.”

The Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance is the umbrella group for nonprofits in the state, and it reports that last year on Giving Tuesday 220 organizations across the state participated.


“Last year, generous Arkansans helped 220 charities raise more than $1.5 million to help our communities on #GivingTuesdayAR,” said Stephanie F. Meincke, CEO of the alliance.

“#GivingTuesdayAR has become Arkansas’ kick off to the giving season after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Get ready to get YOUR give on for this year’s #GivingTuesdayAR event on December 1st.  It’s simple, go to your favorite charities’ websites and donate early and often — you’ll feel good, they’ll feel good and many Arkansans in need will benefit.  Happy Holidays and thanks for your generosity in giving.”

There are 150 participating organizations from Arkansas registered on the national Giving Tuesday website, which allows you to filter selections by whether they are a nonprofit, corporation, small business, university, school or faith-based organization. Meincke notes that participants do not have to register there to participate.

Just a few of the wide-ranging groups taking part include Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, the CALL, the Roots Art Connection, Rock City Rescue, River Valley Shelter for Battered Women and Children, Mt. Saint Mary Foundation and the Chenal Adult Day Center.

“The fact that Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving brings attention to all kinds of worthy organizations, and there are so many great causes out there,” Bembenek said. “Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to generate funds, interest, and support for our mission and our Veterans. It takes anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000 and 2 years to care for and train a puppy to a fully-trained service dog, and we do this at no charge to our Veterans.”

Giving Tuesday is a great way to start the season of giving by sharing with your favorite charities, nonprofits and other groups that make a difference in our state. Check with your favorites to see if they are participating.

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Arkansas Women Blogger member Sarah E. White is a knitter, crafter, mom and writer based in Fayetteville. She writes at Our Daily Craft about crafting with and for kids and creating the life you’ve always wanted, as well as writing the knitting websites for About.com and Craft Gossip. She has three published books on knitting.

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