The first year that The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore took part in #GivingTuesday, the organization raised more than $1 million, gaining notoriety as the most charitable nonprofit in the United States to take part in the event.
The second year that #GivingTuesday was celebrated, The Associated joined forces with other local nonprofits to earn Baltimore the title as the most giving city in the country. The philanthropic event still continues to grow, significantly contributing to Maryland being named the nation’s most giving state in 2014.
Initially established by New York’s 92nd St. Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday is “national day to enlighten people and put in people’s minds the beauty of giving,” said Linda Hurwitz, chair of The Associated’s board.
The local effort began with a catchy call to arms, Bmore Gives More. Falling on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the idea is to embrace the spirit of holiday giving and channel the gift-getting flurry of Black Friday and Cyber Monday into a humanitarian effort.
“We are all thinking about buying gifts, and it is an opportunity to give back to the community and local organizations,” said Hurwitz. “Each of us represent all citizens of Baltimore, all residents of Maryland. It is not just about the giving of money, it is about the giving spirit.”
The primary local philanthropy taking place on #GivingTuesday is the phone- a-thon in which volunteers will call members of the community and raise money to provide “food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, protection for the vulnerable, a positive Jewish identity,” according to The Associated’s donation page.
Both The Associated in Baltimore and the Jewish Federation of Howard County will be running phone-a-thons. For the first time this year, Howard County will also have an online fundraising campaign page. The website will reflect online and phone donations in real time.
“#GivingTuesday is primarily fueled by social media,” said Hanni Werner, marketing and communications associate for the Jewish Federation of Howard County. “Getting people more involved in social media is one of our huge goals. We want to be able to have our constituents share our media to expand our reach.”
The hope is that if members of the community share the event with their friends, it will add “a name and face to the campaign,” Werner explained.
“We are asking people to do three things,” she said. “First, if they want to help, volunteer making calls. Second is to donate online. And third, share the event on social media to help get word out about the event.”
Funds raised through the phone-a-thons will be donated to both local and international humanitarian causes, many of which support Israel and emphasize #GivingTuesday’s mission: “It’s all about building a Jewish future and supporting those in need within our communities,” Werner said.
For members of the community who want to help get involved, both The Associated and the Jewish Federation of Howard County need volunteers to answer phones throughout the day as well as post about #GivingTuesday and share the event and donation pages with friends.
“The phone-a-thon is indicative of the work The Associated does,” said Hurwitz. “We are cutting edge, involved in the community and have donors and trustees who know the important work that we are doing and want to contribute to something with real value and do it with Jewish ethics.”
“Everyone deserves dignity and basic needs,” she added. “Caring for the less fortunate is just who we are. We understand that people want to put their money where their hearts are. This is just one more opportunity for one Jew to help another.”