GivingTuesday is my favorite day of the year! GivingTuesday isn’t your average Tuesday—it’s a global generosity movement celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year.
On this special day, everyone is encouraged to support a charity, volunteer, or complete acts of kindness. Last year, GivingTuesday reported a record-breaking $3.1 BILLION dollars donated to charity just in the US! Plus there were countless non-monetary acts of generosity that occurred that day as well.
“GivingTuesday exists to build the world we all imagine to be possible. A world where everyone has what they need; a world built on a sense of community and abundance.” –GivingTuesday Community Leader
Many of us are just one twist of fate away from facing hardship, whether it's a sudden job loss, a daunting medical bill, or an unforeseen tragedy. We might find ourselves teetering on the edge, in need of mental health support, fighting for our civil rights, or navigating a complex criminal justice system to overcome a setback.
Your money or time can really make a difference this GivingTuesday. Here are 4 of the non-profit organizations that I support and why.
To Write Love on Her Arms
I became a supporter of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) in 2014 after learning my ex lost his brother to suicide. I also have friends and family who struggle with addiction and depression or who lost a loved one to suicide.
TWLOHA is a national non-profit movement dedicated to finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. It's more than an organization; it's a lifeline that exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and, most importantly, invest directly in the treatment and recovery of those who need it most.
In 2020, this organization became an even bigger part of my heart. My sister Amanda struggled with alcohol dependency for many years and then died from an unintentional drug overdose. In her memory, I’ve made a number of donations and hosted several fundraisers, like the 150-mile cycle challenge I completed this year in September that raised $1,300.
I also personally battle depression and anxiety and have benefited greatly from therapy. Therapy isn't just for those with a formal diagnosis—it can be life-changing for anyone (or any couple). TWLOHA has a great Find Help tool on their website to find free or reduced cost resources in your area.
In a world that can feel overwhelmingly dark, we all deserve to feel loved and supported and TWLOHA makes that a reality for so many people.
The Trevor Project
Another organization working tirelessly to prevent suicide is The Trevor Project. This organization focuses on LGBTQ+ youth, providing a 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, virtual community support, and educational resources that empower individuals to embrace their authentic selves.
Before The Trevor Project, there was Trevor, an award-winning short film made in 1994. In just 16 minutes, it artfully unwraps a tale of heartache and resilience, exploring the challenges faced by a teen confronting homophobia. The film tackles attempted suicide in a surprisingly lighthearted way, but at the center is the important point that navigating differences in sexuality can be extremely confusing and isolating to young people. Finding little glimmers of hope, like someone who understands, can save lives.
In 1998 the story of Trevor was transformed into a full-fledged mission through The Trevor Project. Acceptance from at least one adult can decrease the risk of LGBTQ youth attempting suicide by 40%. That's not just a statistic; it's a testament to the life-changing power of support.
The Trevor Project is a lifeline that operates 24/7, providing unwavering support to those navigating the complexities of their identity. Your donation isn't just a contribution; it's a pledge to be part of a movement rewriting the stories of despair into tales of hope, like the original Trevor film.
Equal Justice Initiative
In 2016 I read the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (you might be familiar with the movie with Michael B. Jordan). It was one of the most heart wrenching and powerful books I’ve ever read, and I have been a monthly donor to Bryan's organization, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), ever since.
EJI is a national non-profit providing legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. They challenge the death penalty and provide re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people.
EJI is also committed to changing the narrative around race. In 2018, EJI opened the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice as part of their national effort to create new spaces and memorials that address the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation.
I had the privilege of experiencing these phenomenal sites in 2021 with my nephew, Jalen. The Legacy Museum, once a haunting slave warehouse, now stands as an educational powerhouse, unraveling the threads of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and the death penalty.
And then, there's the National Memorial—a memorial that is equal parts heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping, and painfully beautiful. It’s a solemn tribute to those who were lynched all the way through the 1950s.
My nephew described it best:
"The EJI National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a visceral experience. The front garden of radiant flowers leads to a pavilion atop a lush hillock. Inside the pavilion it quickly becomes a confining maze of these rusted steel columns, each with an etching of a US county and the names of African Americans lynched there. As you progress, the floor sinks and the columns hoist upwards—a foot from the floor, a foot more, your eyes level with their bottoms, and then they're so high you'd never be able to reach them. In some sense, you're free—out of that steel jungle. But, in another way, you wander under a canopy of corpses. Reading the individual names becomes impossible. Even seeing the county names requires straining your neck--a physical representation of the pain to look. Lining the walls are just a few of the stories for why each person was lynched but it's overwhelming. A single death nearly broke me, but the grief of thousands is uniquely unutterable…"
EJI doesn’t just advocate for justice; they redefine it. They don't just talk about change; they build it, brick by brick, exhibit by exhibit. And they’re continuing to expand their work with a free health clinic, college scholarships, and a brand new 17-acre Freedom Monument Sculpture Park opening in early 2024. I highly recommend a trip to Montgomery and supporting this worthy cause.
As a minority bisexual woman and an empathetic person who cares deeply about the humanity and dignity of others, I became a supporting member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a couple of years ago.
Founded over a century ago, the ACLU is a beacon of hope, working to breathe life into the promises of the US Constitution and expand the reach of its guarantees. As a non-partisan non-profit, the ACLU fights passionately for the civil rights of every group and individual.
The ACLU has been involved in several groundbreaking Supreme Court cases over the years including Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. With staff and volunteer attorneys, they handle close to 2,000 court cases each year.
But their work is far from done. Today, the ACLU is on the front-line, spearheading battles for equality across the spectrum—people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities. They're also at the forefront of issues surrounding free speech and voting rights, fighting for a society where every voice is heard and everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve.
If philanthropy isn't in your budget right now, consider some of the non-monetary acts of generosity you could do on GivingTuesday like volunteer, organize a food or toy drive, or bake up some appreciation pie for friends and family.
What are some of your favorite non-profit organizations to support and why? Comment below or send me a message on social media.
Social media: @alisonrosevintage