In 10th year, Giving Tuesday ‘essential’ to some CT organizations

Photo of Alexander Soule

After billions of dollars were spent on holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, organizations are hoping people give back on Tuesday.

Held the week after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, which brought in nearly $2.5 billion for nonprofits last year, marks its 10th year after being launched in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y with support from the United Nations Foundation.

While many Connecticut volunteers and businesses are already active with philanthropic activities leading up to Thanksgiving — Norwalk-based Priceline, for example, amassed nearly $100,000 in its annual November food drive supporting the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County — Giving Tuesday provides a rallying point to focus attention and resources on nonprofits that require community support.

The Torrington-based Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation is among the entities statewide with a major Giving Day campaign underway to support varying causes in the Litchfield County region.

“Our nonprofits count on Giving Tuesday as an essential component of their fundraising efforts to meet essential operating costs associated with the many services they provide in support of a better quality of life for all of us,” Guy Rovezzi, president of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, stated in an email. “Our role on Giving Tuesday is to bring awareness to them and the good work these organizations do.”

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation holds its own annual Giving Day, with next year’s event scheduled for Feb. 24, 2022.

Last year’s Giving Tuesday event raised close to $2.5 billion in the United States, with more than 33 million people and institutional donors chipping in.

With the 2020 installment of Giving Tuesday arriving in the throes of pandemic layoffs, this year’s event occurs as economic inflation is pinching the pocketbooks and concerning households on limited incomes. The cost of staples like food and gas shot up in October, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics scheduled to release its update for November in two weeks.

While human services nonprofits like the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and the New London Community Meal Center lean on Giving Day for crucial support, so do other organizations from libraries and schools, to land trusts and environmental organizations.

Increasingly, organizations are lining up matching donations from wealthy benefactors as a tool to encourage more people to give, including the global humanitarian nonprofit Save the Children based in Fairfield, which has a “5x” match in place for this year.

Many work to drum up awareness in other ways in advance of the event, such as Western Connecticut State University, which produced a video depicting an actress preparing for a stage performance with a voice-over describing childhood dreams for that moment. The video ends with the narrator stating she never achieved that dream, but that her daughter did and “the people who give — they don’t make just a contribution, they make a difference.”

“Our Media Services department produced the video as an awareness tool,” WCSU spokesperson Paul Steinmetz stated in an email.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman