Monday, December 01, 2014

#Giving Tuesday: The National Day To Give Back (Even for Grinches)

Whether you love the holidays or just hang in and try to make the best of it, I have good news for you. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a day that should provide some cheer and motivation even for the most jaded, is almost here! Even the Grinch might have to acknowledge the spirit of giving has always been one of the best parts of the holiday season.

Thanks to the United Nations Foundation and many partner organizations and businesses, we can come together and make all this generosity count even more on #Giving Tuesday, this year on December 2nd. Most know Black Friday and Cyber Monday and maybe Small Business Saturday. Now meet #GivingTuesday, the national day of giving that started two years ago as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the kick-off to the holiday season.

This year I’m focusing on giving children life-saving vaccines in the developing world, a cause near and dear to my heart as a parent, a Social Good Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and as many of you know, an advocate of their Shot@Life campaign. Tomorrow, December 2nd, Shot@Life will strive to raise funds to protect 40,000 children against pneumonia, an illness that kills more children around the world than any other despite the fact one pneumococcal vaccine costs a mere $5.00. Fully protecting a child is just $10.00, less than the cost of a large pizza or two Venti lattes plus tip.

Thankfully Bill and Melinda Gates believe vaccines are one of the best investments to improve global health. They continue to generously support both Shot@Life and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in other words, the people who get vaccines to the kids who need them*. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would like to support Shot@Life and Gavi this year by matching donations on #GivingTuesday. To reach the goal of protecting 40,000 children, they’ll match donations up to $200,000! Way cool. MAM USA, makers of bottles, pacifiers and other baby products also will partner with Shot@Life for #GivingTuesday. They generously will donate the first gift, $25,000 that will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

I’m also quite psyched about The Child Mind Institute and their #GivingTuesday campaign  Gifts That Give Back – check out the Alex and Ani bracelets, the Gund teddy bears, Michael Aram and more. This organization works to improve the lives of children with mental health and learning disabilities. From direct services, news and research to awesome social media efforts, The Child Mind Institute really brings it every day and they deserve some love.

So set aside your work, the gift lists, the winter concert dress code, the cards, the cookies, the travel plans, the colds, the flus and seasonal angst for just a moment. I will and hope you can too.

THINGS YOU CAN DO ON #GIVINGTUESDAY

1. Join me and donate to Shot@Life on December 2nd. Even $5.00 makes a difference. If you can, wait to do it tomorrow on Tuesday because the Gates are matching gifts only that day.

2. Check out The Child Mind Institute and their gifts that give back. 
On my list: Alex and Ani. 

3. Join the Shot@Life twitter party on Tuesday, December 2nd, at 10am EST. Follow @Shotatlife, @UNFoundation and hashtag #GivingTuesday.

4. Take an UNSelfie, upload it to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (#UNselfie, #GivingTuesday, @Shotatlife). Better yet, let your kids do it! Now they have a good reason to post a (un)selfie!

Gotta love the Gates Foundation's response to retail holiday advertising!Thanks @MelindaGates 

*Next week I'll be joining the United Nations Foundation for The Last Mile of Vaccine Delivery to learn about the barriers to delivering vaccines to the neediest children.

NOTE: My fellow Shot@Life advocates and supporters also contributing to #GivingTuesday:

Cynthia Changyit Levin, End Poverty blog.
Paula Kiger, Perspicacity blog.