The holiday season is upon us—a time for festive gatherings, whimsical decorations, and lots of comfort food. It’s a time to slow down and make memories with loved ones. And perhaps most importantly, it’s a time for giving.
For many of us, this likely evokes memories and feelings we associate with our loved ones’ faces lighting up when they open their gifts. But giving season isn’t limited to the gifts we give to our family, friends and colleagues. It’s also about the ways we decide to give back to our community and the causes we care about.
Ask anyone who’s ever voIunteered their time, helped a neighbor, or made a donation to a nonprofit or church. It feels good to give back. It’s why so many people “adopt a family for Christmas,” or sign up for a shift at their local food bank or soup kitchen. For decades, helping others has been a fundamental part of the holiday season, and nowadays, there are so many creative ways to get involved.
One way to give back during the holiday season was born in 2012: a global movement called GivingTuesday. The idea behind GivingTuesday came from other trends, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but instead of spending money on things, GivingTuesday encouraged giving money or goods to nonprofits and charities. Since GivingTuesday’s induction into the holiday season, it’s grown exponentially, inspiring hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate what the movement calls “radical generosity.”
Despite its global roots, GivingTuesday has made substantial impacts in local communities. You’ve likely seen a nonprofit you follow fundraising during GivingTuesday on their social media or in a newsletter. And while every organization celebrates the movement differently, one notable effort on the local scale is the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne’s #GivingTuesdayFW Challenge.
Every year to celebrate GivingTuesday, the Community Foundation challenges local nonprofits to raise money for their endowment (a special type of donation, which uses the resulting investment income for a specific purpose) to receive matching funds that the Community Foundation distributes. This year alone, the Community Foundation raised an impressive $162,000 for nonprofits.
Additionally, the Community Foundation rewards five top-raising organizations with a surprise, unrestricted $5,000 donation on the day of GivingTuesday. This year’s recipients include: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Arena Dinner Theatre, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana, Vincent Village, and Fort Wayne Sister Cities International. In years past, honorees have included DTFW favorites like the Fort Wayne Cinema Center and Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.
“We are very pleased with the success of our #GivingTuesdayFW Challenge. This is our seventh year, and the generosity of our community humbles us. We want to thank all the individuals who donate to help the nonprofits in our community who do such important work,” said Kiley Tate-Potts, Director of Philanthropic Services at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. “We continue to be inspired by philanthropy in Allen County on Giving Tuesday and beyond.”
While GivingTuesday may be over with, the Community Foundation helps nonprofits all year round—and you can too! It’s not too late to give to a charitable organization for the holiday season. Not only does donating help our community, it’s a great way to surprise a loved one with an honorary donation in their name. It’s the perfect feel-good gift for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life. And it’s the gift that, literally, keeps on giving.
Need some ideas or inspiration for giving back? Check out the Community Foundation’s GivingTuesday page, where you can find a list of local nonprofits that you can donate to anytime.
Find out more about the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.