Why I Give

Today is celebrated as “Giving Tuesday,” described as “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” Occurring on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the highly publicized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday aims to kick-off a season of charitable giving that coincides with holiday and end-of-year giving.

The altruism behind Giving Tuesday is certainly worthy. For me, being sucked into the commercial vortex of the holiday season can seem inevitable; an opportunity to transcend this materialism is a welcome one. Giving Tuesday is a call to reflect on substantive questions about our values—What philosophically guides us? Where do we invest our time, energy, and resources? What are the institutions that inspire us?

I am grateful that Thanksgiving precedes Giving Tuesday. Thanksgiving provides for me, and, I hope, for many of you, an opportunity to consider what really matters. Whether gathered with family around a bountiful dinner table to reconnect and acknowledge loved ones, present or not, or with folks who have come together for ‘Friendsgiving’—we celebrate a lifetime of fond memories with those who know us best. Whomever we find ourselves with, what brings us to the table, figuratively or literally, are shared and common values.  

That, in the end, is what Giving Tuesday means to me. It is a chance for me to give back to those places in my life where I find my values reaffirmed—the institutions that seek to extend those values out into the world and further affect positive change. Giving Tuesday is a way to contribute to the agency of those institutions that provide a value greater than the sum of their many parts.

Many thanks to Beth Sousa for putting Giving Tuesday so purposefully on our collective radar, and thank you all for your charitable hearts this holiday season. Have a great day.

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