Fall is officially upon us and you know what that means, holiday decorations are on full display at pharmacies, department stores, and super markets nationwide. From pinecones, cornucopias, turkeys, sugar cookie candles, snowflakes and fake snow. You name it, you can find it. While this season is a time of joy and celebration for many, there are also injustices still impacting millions around the globe.
While many Americans look forward to the days following Thanksgiving, #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday, for deals on gifts from friends or family, #GivingTuesday is a global campaign aimed at closing the disconnect between the materialism that has become associated with the holiday season and focuses on taking one day to rally and give back to communities around the globe.
Last year, shoppers spent an estimated $1 Trillion in the holiday season alone. How many of those presents are now in the trash or abandoned in the back of closets? Is gift giving really sustainable? Now I’m not saying spending money on gifts is bad, I love buying clothes for my little sister, making cards for my mom and getting my dad new tools each year around the holidays. But I know the joy that these things bring them will only last for a little while. By the time next year rolls around their gifts will be outdated and need to be replaced.
As leaders at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y were noticing this trend of large spending in the holiday season, which equated to isolation of good, they conceptualized #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to bring awareness and donations to nonprofits around the globe. Last year, on #GivingTuesday alone, $168 million dollars was donated to thousands of causes across the world to give gifts that could forever change the lives of people the donor did not even know.
The SISGI Group would love to have your partnership this holiday season, and beyond. Our most recent initiative is a sustainable hurricane fund for the victims of Hurricanes in the British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The fund will focus on providing support after the major aid from emergency response ends and the day to day rebuilding and living begins. Over the next two years, we will connect with community groups to provide small grants to individuals towards their rebuilding efforts, work to gather supply lists from the local communities, make shipments of items, and send in kind donations that we will also work to acquire from companies and partners. Every donation will make a difference as the destruction in these communities is massive and the needs are extreme.
Another way you can partner with us on #GivingTuesday, is by donating to a scholarship fund for our Leadership Academy. Our Leadership Academy fellows are working to meet needs in their communities through creating sustainable change. The are also female nonprofit executives leading small community based nonprofits making an immense impact in their community with limited budgets and support. The tuition for the program ranges from $250-$575 which provides fellows with a year of mentorship, classes, resources and a launchpad to grow their non-profits or improve their leadership as a female executive. Your donation of any amount will help provide fellows a foundation for growth that will continue to give back to their communities as the years pass.
At the SISGI Group, we fully believe in the power of people for good, and we would love to have you partner with us. With your help, we can equip more people to heal communities around the world! Visit www.sisgigroup.org/give to support us in creating sustainable, long-lasting, social change.
Melanie Cushman is a Leadership Academy Intern at the SISGI group, and is also a Graduate Student at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, with a concentration in Community, Organization, and Business Innovations. Melanie also holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, with a minor in Biblical Studies, from Biola University. She has a special interest, and passion, for international social work after traveling abroad on missions trips as a high school and college student, and most recently working with a NGO in the Philippines for 5 months. She has a heart for sustainable and holistic social justice, specifically psychological aid efforts, effective programming and development, and staff care of NGO workers. Melanie hopes to return to the humanitarian relief field after she gains more experience with the SISGI Group!