If you know me, you know that my love runs deep for quite a few things, with Christmas being fairly high on that list. I am self-proclaimed #ChristmasCrazy; I get giddy and mostly wear red and green from December 1 to Christmas Eve. I give to everyone I possibly can, which usually results in overspending. There’s something magical about the season that encourages people to be more caring and more giving. As I am naturally a very giving person, I feel a little more normal during the holidays; relatively speaking.
I do my very best to honor all the holidays, and I kick the Christmas season off right after Thanksgiving Dinner. I buy Black on Black Friday or buy nothing at all. I support Small Business Saturday, either financially or on social media. Cyber Monday is usually hit or miss for me. But it all builds up to Giving Tuesday.
#GivingTuesday is my second favorite day of the year (right after Christmas Eve). It’s a global giving day intended to connect people via social media, celebrate and encourage giving. How cool is that? Giving Tuesday is also the perfect kickoff for year-end charitable donations. Here are a few organizations (Black-founded, of course) created to support people of color that I will be supporting this holiday season:
Raising Expectations Inc.
I have a soft spot in my heart for kids and anyone who does right by kids is usually okay in my book. Started by two phenomenal women almost 25 years ago, Raising Expectations (RE) works to empower youth in crisis by elevating their academic, civic, and social standards to facilitate high school graduation and post-secondary plans. The RE team works tirelessly to make sure all the babies, from 2nd to 12th grade, have the support they need to thrive in and out of the classroom. On a daily basis, RE provides academic support to students on the Westside of Atlanta and offers them opportunities to expand their perspectives and understanding of the world around them. It’s amazing to be able to see the growth in RE students as they come back year after year. I support RE because I have seen the team give their blood, sweat, and tears to make sure their past, present, and future students (and their families!) have everything they need to become the best versions of themselves. That’s the kind of passion and love I will always support.
Photos provided courtesy of Raising Expectations’ Facebook Page
N.Finite Hands Charity
Equally passionate about supporting families is N.Finite Hands Charity. N.Finite Hands was started by a group of childhood friends who wanted to do something good for their community. What began as a desire to feed a few families over the holidays has expanded to the ability to feed families physically over Christmas and feed children intellectually other times during the year. The annual Joy of Giving event provides families in Chicago with a full holiday meal with all the trimmings in a fun and educational environment. I love donating my time and treasures to N.Finite Hands because it is growing organically to be able to support more families in more ways every year, unencumbered by outside forces imposing guidelines and requirements. It has been amazing to watch N.Finite Hands and its team grow, and I am excited to continue to be part of it.
Video provided courtesy of N.Finite Hands
Girls Going Global
Girls Going Global (GGG) is another one for the kids. Founded by a Spelman alumna, GGG empowers girls to be global citizens by providing the tools, mentorship, and educational experiences, to make their mark on the world. One of my favorite programs that GGG runs is the International Travel Camps, which allows girls to see different parts of the world, often for the very first time. Beyond that, GGG encourages service in all of their travel, showing girls how everyone is connected globally. I have personally seen how these experiences can impact a girl – giving her more confidence to go along with her international experience. That is something that I want to continue to be part of in any way that I can.
Photos provided courtesy of Girls Going Global’s Facebook Page
The Zuri Adele Fellowship for HBCU Alumni
We saw at the beginning of the year what happens when the arts reflect us (shout-out to everyone who saw Black Panther more than once). The Zuri Adele Fellowship for HBCU Alumni has been working, and continues to work, to make that happen more often by providing artists of African descent access to higher education in order to build their skills and hone their crafts. This fellowship that my Spelman sister created is currently available to UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, with plans to expand to other schools to reach more students. I remember feeling so proud sitting in the theater watching T’Challa and Shuri and the Dora Milaje fight for Wakanda and Meg traverse time and space to save her family. I believe that the actors the Zuri Adele Fellowship will support more of these experiences in theater, film, and television for years to come, and that’s something I will forever support.
These are just a few of the organizations that I love that I will support on Giving Tuesday and all year long. I hope you will join me.