This past weekend was American Thanksgiving, aka the biggest shopping weekend of the year thanks to the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. But there’s a new, warm hearted holiday on the calendar that we want you to know all about, and that’s Giving Tuesday.
*Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Instead of focusing on sales and shopping like its consumer focused holiday siblings, Giving Tuesday’s focus is just that, giving, to charity, to each other, and to the community. From their website, “GivingTuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for favorite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.”
We’ve rounded up a few causes near and dear to our hearts for your donation consideration, but feel free to share your own with us on social media. The most important thing is to GIVE!
California Fire Victims
I recently spent some time in Los Angeles, and every day the smoke from the fires in Malibu and the surrounding areas was visible as I looked out at the beautiful horizon. It broke my heart. Thousands of people are missing, people have lost their home and all their possessions and the area will be struggling for a long time to come. I’m still putting together my article on my amazing experience, but on this Giving Tuesday, consider helping the victims of the fire through one of the following organizations:
The Dandelion Initiative
“A dandelion can grow through concrete against all odds and so shall we.” That’s the strength behind this amazing organization, that works to help survivors of violence and sexual assault from all walks of life, backgrounds, genders. Basically, all the forms that humans come in, Dandelion wants to help, and that’s something I can get behind. From educational and support tools and events for survivors, to safe space training for nightlife venues, the team behind Dandelion work tirelessly to prevent traumatic incidents and to help survivors through their trauma to thrive. Click here to learn more and donate.
Human trafficking has always been a cause that’s close to my heart. It’s a crime that affects the most vulnerable people around the world, who are easily exploited and abused for the profit of their traffickers. It happens all over the world, including right here in Toronto. Free Them focuses on their four “freedom factors” in their fight against human trafficking: Prevention and Education on the realities of these crimes, Rescuing victims by working with Law Enforcement, Rehabilitation and Aftercare of victims, and working with the government to change and adapt policies to help victims and prevent more crimes.
Help those with disabilities
If there’s one thing I’m ever grateful for, it’s being able-bodied. Our world is not made to make life easier for those with any and all types of disabilities, so this Giving Tuesday, do what you can to make this world a little more accommodating. On a personal note, I have a brother who is on the Autism Spectrum, so consider helping the Geneva Centre for Autism, a not for profit supporting those with ASD and their families. As well, please consider donating to my family friends’ Gofundme, who are trying to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for their son, who suffered traumatic injuries after a terrible car accident 2 years ago. Click here to learn more. And click here to learn about how you can donate to March of Dimes, whose mission is to make the world more accessible and inclusive for people with physical disabilities.
Help Indigenous and First Nations Peoples
Did you know that right here in Canada, many indigenous communities don’t have access to something as simple and basic as clean water? Canada’s public shame is its treatment of First Nations and Indigenous people. While we are a long way from reconciliation, we can at least do something to help. Consider donating to Water First, an organization working to address water challenges in First Nations communities. Click here to learn more.
To be displaced is a terrible thing, especially when it’s because you’re no longer safe where you are. Consider giving to refugees in some way or another this holiday season. The global refugee crisis has been making headlines around the world, and not just because of the inhumane treatment asylum seekers receive at the U.S. border. If you believe that treatment is wrong, and refugees around the world need our help, considering giving to help refugees. We all have beds of our own to sleep in tonight, but millions of children and adults around the world don’t even have a country they can call home anymore. There are many agencies helping refugees, pick the one you that means the most to you. You can start with the United Nations Refugee Agency. Click here to learn more.
Corporate social responsibility is a huge factor for me when I make decisions about where to spend my money, which is why I love companies like Kotn. I love when I can do something good with the money I’m spending anyway, so instead of sale hunting, I bought a bunch of items from them on Black Friday because all the proceeds of their sales from this past weekend will go to help build schools in Egypt. So when you’re looking to buy some cotton basics for your holiday gift giving or for yourself, consider buying them from Kotn. You’ll get amazing items, and know that your money is helping to improve child literacy rates in Egypt at the same time. Click here to shop.
If you’re in North America, the UK or Australia, you’ve probably noticed a larger amount of mustaches around you than usual. That’s how you know it’s Movember! The facial hair based campaign’s goal is to stop men from dying to young from prostate cancer by raising funds and awareness about the disease. You probably know someone who’s running their own campaign right now, but if you don’t, help our UK editor Stewart here, and our dear friend and fellow writer/editor Joshua Murray here!
Over the Bridge/Unison Benevolent Fund
Over the Bridge is a not for profit organization working to help the entertainment industry battle the endemic addiction and mental health issues that plague artists and other members of that community. Addicted EIC Mark Munroe has shared his own struggles with addiction on a panel put on by OTB as part of their overall mental health and wellness programming, and they administer life saving naloxene kit training to live music venues in the Toronto area and beyond. If you love music, this organization is one great place to put your money and time. Click here to learn more. The Unison Fund is a not for profit that helps music industry members access health care. Musicians and artists don’t generally get health benefits, and often struggle financially, and not being able to play for health reasons can be devasting. Learn how to help the musicians you already know and love through their health care crises here.
A while back we posted about our friends at Sistema, and the devasting funding loss they experienced at the hands of the provincial government. This organization works to create music education opportunities for at risk youth, to help them and their communities thrive, and to avoid future risky behavior. They losed half a million dollars thanks to budget cuts. Help them make up for that funding shortfall her. Read our piece here and click here to donate and learn more.
Toronto Cat Rescue
I personally volunteer as a foster home for this amazing organization. They work tirelessly to save little feline lives from as far as Quebec, and as close as our own backyards. They’re looking to raise some funds to organize a rescue of over 100 cats that will face euthanization otherwise. Consider donating some funds if you’re able, especially since one generous volunteer has already promised to match all donations! You can also volunteer your time or donate items to help the kitties and their fosters. You can donate here, and learn more about TCR here. And if you’re more of a dog person, consider donating to Redemption Paws, an amazing dog rescue whose work includes bringing animals from the U.S. to their forever homes in Canada. Click here to learn more.
Want to help young people along their path to creative professions? Then UofChange is for you! This organization creates educational and professional development opportunities for people from the ages of 16-29. From workshops and classes to mentorship programs, UofChange believes that you can be creative and successful, and they work hard to help people do just that. Click here to donate and learn more.
It may be a happy holiday season for the children in your lives, but that’s sadly not the case for children everywhere. If you’re looking to make life better for little ones this Giving Tuesday, consider donating to UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund has been around for decades, and work to help children in crisis all over the world. I just donated to a campaign to help bring food to children in Yemen, who are being starved due to conflict in the area. Click here to learn more.
Various charities to help women and girls
Around the world and right here at home, female identifying humans are still not equal to their male identifying counterparts. From access to education and proper healthcare, reproductive rights, safety from exploitation, and so many more issues, women are still struggling and need our help. Everyone will thrive when men and women are truly equal, so this Giving Tuesday consider giving to a female-focused charity, especially organizations who help females who are even more marginalized for many reasons. Click here to learn how to help Indigenous women through the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Indigenous women’s lives are in more danger every day than their non-indigenous counterparts, and they struggle more to access education, healthcare and other necessary things to thrive in life. Click here to learn about Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakinstani woman who was shot in 2012 just for advocating for girls’ education. There are tons more out there, just have a look!
How many times have you looked up something you didn’t know on your phone or computer, and Wikipedia came up as the first result? Between Amazon and Google, and their own merit of course, Wikipedia has become a globally used knowledge base that for many is indispensable. But did you know that Wikipedia is a not for profit, volunteer-based organization? That’s right, the information we have all come to rely on is created, fact-checked and edited by people just like you and me donating their time and effort. I’ve been giving a small donation monthly to the Wikimedia Foundation. You can give as little as a couple of dollars a month, and every little bit helps. Click here to learn more.
These are just a few charities that I personally support, but there are literally millions out there that need our help. Figure out what it is that matters to you, and do what you can to help. That’s what matters. Happy Giving Tuesday! Let’s make this holiday season a happier one for everyone by giving what we can, where we can, to make the world a bit of a better place.
To learn more about Giving Tuesday, click here.