As you probably know, because you are here on the internet, today is Giving Tuesday — a day created in response to Cyber Monday and Black Friday to focus on charitable donations, volunteering, and community involvement. Here at GFY, we’d love to hear the charities you’ve been involved with throughout the year (in giving of your time or your money), and the ways you’ve chosen to be involved in volunteering or in your community. Please feel free to share links or resources!
As for me, this past year I volunteered my time to a variety of political candidates across the country (I did Postcards to Voters, and a lot of text-banking) and it was really rewarding and exciting — not all of them won, but many of them did, and it was also a great way for me to learn more about races that aren’t in my state. This is definitely the first year that I was paying attention to any of the propositions on the Florida ballot, for example, because I wrote a bunch of postcards for the state’s Amendment 4, which passed and restored voting rights to people convicted of a felony once they served their time (including probation). I plan to continue doing this sort of thing in 2019, but I’d also like to find a volunteering opportunity that gets me out of the house.
I also gave money to a variety of organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, RAINN, the Sierra Club (I just got my calendar!), and the Los Angeles Mission, which one of the country’s largest organizations fighting homelessness (and which I’ve been a supporter of since I was in high school). I wasn’t able to give a lot to all of them, but every little bit helps.
I also am a long-time supporter of Kiva, which provides micro-loans to people across the world to start businesses or provide for their families. It’s really neat, if you’ve never done it — 97% of the people who receive loans pay them back, and I’ve never had one defaulted. Then you can either take your money back, or re-invest it in someone else. I’ve lent to a women in Colombia raising pigs, a small cleaning business in Oakland, a woman with a small tamale business in San Jose, and a woman who wanted to get a herd of sheep in Armenia, and a variety of other people. It’s such a good idea.
I have a little message board in my bathroom, and right now it says SHOW UP. It’s kind of corny, but it’s a reminder to me to, well, show up: For people, for the community, for myself. Sometimes, for work. But the truth is that there are lots of ways to show up. What is yours?