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’Tis the season for giving. After indulging in the homecooked delicacies of Thanksgiving and the consumer rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the charitable part of the giving season is here, #GivingTuesday.

The Story of #GivingTuesday

Each year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a worldwide movement promoting philanthropy takes place, #GivingTuesday (Giving Tuesday).

#GivingTuesday was founded by members of the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y Cultural Center in New York City. The founders of #GivingTuesday had the simple yet altruistic mission of encouraging acts of kindness globally.

#GivingTuesday motivates people from all backgrounds to give back through community events and charitable organizations, and share those good works through social media. Last year, more than 700,000 people contributed more than $116 million to #GivingTuesday campaigns.

This year, you have the chance to experience the feelings that come through giving back in our York hometown on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

York abounds with opportunities to contribute to nonprofits that work year-round to strengthen our city. By helping our community organizations, our hands create contributions that weave threads to secure community growth, prosperity and longevity.

Discover some organizations and ways you can give back on this #GivingTuesday.

Downtown Inc: Enhancing the Revitalization of York City

Downtown Inc aims to drive, fortify and encourage investment in Downtown York. “We want to make Downtown York a place where people want to open a business, to live, to work and to play,” Chief Marketing and Development Officer Meagan Feeser explains.

Downtown Inc has enjoyed successes with past #GivingTuesday events. “We’ve seen a very positive response to our #GivingTuesday efforts for the past two years, raising more than $5,000 each year,” she says.

Contributions to Downtown Inc make a variety of activities possible, such as the monthly First Friday events. Downtown Inc is a driving force behind First Fridays that bring people together to explore fine arts, food, shopping and fun in downtown York.

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Downtown Inc suggests the following ways you can contribute to its #UNSelfie movement and the downtown community:

  • $25 – One hour of Clean-Up Crew
  • $50 – One hour of entertainment at First Friday
  • $75 – Ribbon cutting for a new business
  • $100 – Fill a planter with spring, summer, fall and winter flowers
  • $500 – One month of care for downtown planters

“Many people don’t know the work that Downtown Inc does,” Feeser says. “It’s nice to have a day to shine a spotlight on our projects and to step out from behind the curtain.”

Not only does #GivingTuesday allow the community to consider the services Downtown Inc provides year-round, but it also allows people to step back and consider others during the holiday season.

“The holidays have become such a blur of shopping, parties and activities. It’s nice to take a day to push pause and give back,” Feeser says. “Since I’ve moved home to York, all of my efforts professionally and personally have been focused on the revitalization of York. To see our community come together and support all of the groups who are working so hard is really a great feeling.”

Giving the Gift of Literacy

What material gift could be more personal and meaningful than the gift of literacy and access to resources that open doors to knowledge and adventure?

ldg_4115_smYou’ll find opportunities to make that impact through the York County Libraries Foundation.

“Being part of a global movement is very inspiring for people who believe in what they’re giving to,” says York County Libraries Director of Development Laura O’Grady.

O’Grady reveals that her involvement in the organization made her realize what it’s like to wholeheartedly believe in what you do.

This year, contributions to York County Libraries not only help keep the shelves of the library system’s branches filled with resources available for community use, but they will also fund early literacy programs.

“Literacy programs take up a lot of costs, but they’re also one of our most valued services,” O’Grady says. “People really enjoy our educational programming.”

She is grateful for #GivingTuesday because people do not always realize that libraries are not entirely governmentally funded. Library systems like York County Libraries often use #GivingTuesday to spread the word that donor support contributes to helping libraries maintain their educational services and resources.

“#GivingTuesday is special because it puts a focus on philanthropy and community,” O’Grady explains. “Our town wouldn’t be as rich in cultural and educational experiences without the support of philanthropy. It’s also a good way to give back after days of consumerism.”

She stresses that York’s community success “is on our shoulders. To protect and make it last we must contribute to it. I feel more connected to my community when I’m investing in it because I have a stake in its success. Being involved especially at the library made me realize what it means to believe in what you do. I truly believe in its mission, which makes what I do come so naturally. The value of bringing education, literacy and internet access to those who don’t have it in their homes fills us with the good feelings that we’re making a positive impact in the lives of others.”

On this #GivingTuesday, consider some ways you can give back to York County Libraries, such as funding a week of story time or adding a book or e-book to its collections.

Using York’s History to Strengthen Its Future

Another organization that’s making a positive impact on the community is the York County History Center. The organization, which will open a new museum experience in downtown York in 2020, is running a special “Send a Kid to the Museum!” campaign for this #GivingTuesday. “Our goal is to raise $2,000 to start a fund that will help schools bring their students to our museums for field trips,” says Director of Public Relations and Marketing Melanie Hady.

Hady explains that with government funding diminishing, “Many, many school children have never been to a museum … any museum.” Members of the York County History Center hope to use their funds to increase the percentage of schools that send students for field trips.

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“Museums offer a dynamic opportunity to expose children to experiences and explore new things in a rich and educational environment. This unique exposure provides the foundation for creativity, critical thinking and connection to the world around them,” Hady says, quoting Sara Choi, the education program manager of the Zimmer Children’s Museum.

Hady stresses the importance of giving children the gift of an experience, especially after spending money on material items for the holiday season. “It can be uplifting to step out of the world of ‘things’ and give just a little bit to help others right here in York County,” she says.

You can help “Send a Kid to the Museum!”  “#GivingTuesday brings the community together by reminding us of the good things we already have,” Hady says. “It also encourages us to support the amazing efforts of the nonprofits that help make it special!”

When you give back to one or more of our community’s organizations participating in York’s #GivingTuesday mission, let your friends, family and neighbors know with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie. View a full list of York organizations that would appreciate your involvement in being a part of their mission to build up our York community.

Story by Brandi Mummert for YRK Magazine; York County History Center photograph courtesy the York County History Center