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#GivingTuesday: Repairing the world one person at a time

Jewish Family Services is one of the many Jewish organizations participating in #GivingTuesday. JFS is collecting rolls of toilet paper for its food pantry clients, and used these clever centerpieces at its annual meeting Sunday.

First we had Black Friday. Then we had Cyber Monday. Now we have #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is intended to keep the purchasing momentum going. You got the best deals in the stores. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}You’ve taken advantage of the best deals online. #GivingTuesday is intended to inspire you to dig a little deeper in your wallet and make a donation to your favorite nonprofit before the end of the year.

#GivingTuesday, now in its fourth year, is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Much like those well-known red Salvation Army buckets strategically posted outside stores and busy areas, it kicks off the charitable season at a time when many are focused on the kind of gift giving that is accompanied with bows and wrapping paper and not charitable giving.

In a cool Jewish twist, #GivingTuesday was created by the 92nd Street Y, the oldest and largest Jewish Community Center in the country. Since 1874, the 92nd Street Y has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back. #GivingTuesday hopes to connect diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Since its inception in 2012, there has been an estimated 470 percent increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. 

What local Jewish organizations are participating in #GivingTuesday? Several, but it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that they all need your support.

We’ve got some fabulous Jewish organizations, such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, which recently received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. Jewish Federation’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency all contributed to earning this top distinction.

Such a rating is a big deal. Just ask Jewish Federation President and CEO Todd Stettner. He’s thrilled that the Jewish Federation is being recognized for its hard work.

“We have been striving to be transparent in what we do and improve the way we present ourselves to the public and to our donors, so that’s good news,” he said.

Other Jewish organizations in our community are outstanding as well. Jewish Community Foundation is regularly recognized by its peer organizations as being at the top if its field. Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy is ranked as one of the top Jewish day schools in the country. Think about the wonderful programs the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education have helped bring to town over the last several years. Let’s not forget the work the JCRB|AJC does in the area of interfaith relations or the times The J helps bring the community together in a variety of its partnerships, including one with SevenDays: Make a Ripple, Change the World. JVS, which starting out helping Jewish immigrants, now helps settle immigrants from all over the world. Today JVS, along with Jewish Family Services, continues to help members of the Jewish community find jobs with its Career Skills and Connections programs. Village Shalom lovingly cares for our elderly. And let’s not forget our local congregations who help us with our spiritual health and wellbeing.

My vote for the Jewish community’s most clever #GivingTuesday campaign is JFS’ Toilet Paper Tuesday: Get Behind Us. Since personal hygiene products are not covered by SNAP (what we think of as food stamps), raising awareness and funds for our most basic of needs is critical. If JFS reaches its goal, it will be able to give each food pantry recipient four additional rolls of toilet paper each month, for a total of eight rolls. Do you know a family of four that can get by with only four rolls of TP a month? I don’t.

#GivingTuesday is less than two weeks away. Here’s what you need to do:

Give because you care.

Give to make a change.

Give to support organizations you love.

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