- Jennifer Sorentrue Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official start of the holiday shopping rush, but Palm Beach County charities are hoping another global marketing push — Giving Tuesday — will kick off a season on philanthropy that helps pay for their work long in to the new year.
More than 50 local nonprofits are participating in the annual fundraising campaign, which is designed to put a spotlight on charitable giving during the busy holiday shopping rush and the end of year tax deduction deadline.
Founded by a cultural center in New York City, Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a way to kick off the charitable giving season. For the sixth year, it will be held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping rush.
In 2015, people in 98 counties raised $177 million as part of the annual campaign, according to givingtuesday.org.
The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County is hoping to raise at least $5,000 — the amount it takes to help one family get back into an apartment. The non-profit plans to use emails and social media to raise awareness about the campaign.
Marilyn Munoz, the homeless coalition’s executive director, said residents can also help boost the organization’s fundraising efforts by using Amazon’s charitable program “AmazonSmile” when shopping for gifts online. Through the program, the online retail giant donates 0.5 percent of eligible “AmazonSmile” purchases to a charitable organization chosen by the customer.
“That really does add up,” Munoz said.
The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, which has traditionally used social media, email campaigns and phone-a-thons to help raise awareness about Giving Tuesday, has added a new way for residents to donate this year. The non-profit has created a “Text-to-Give” option in hopes of boosting contributions while also attracting new donors, including millennials.
“We’re proud to be part of this international day of philanthropy,” said Michael Hoffman, President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. “We appreciate the extreme generosity of our donors, who allow us to fulfill the mission of our organization. It is because of them that we are able to improve, enhance and meet the needs of our Jewish community – on Giving Tuesday and all year.”
This is the first year that the Child Rescue Coalition, a Palm Beach County-based non-profit that works to protect children from sexual abuse, will participate in Giving Tuesday.
The organization says money raised through as part of the campaign will help it partner with and train law enforcement officials around the world. The group’s work has resulted in more than 9,600 arrests worldwide.
“Participating in a global day of giving helps to raise the volume, and vital funds, enabling us to train more officers and rescue more children from abuse,” said Carly Yoost, CEO and Founder of Child Rescue Coalition. “Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for our supporters to participate in something bigger than us all.”
South Florida-based Food For The Poor, an international relief and development organization, hopes to raise enough money on Giving Tuesday to provide two dozen homes to those in need. According to the group, a gift of $3,600 will build a single-unit home with sanitation, and a gift of $7,200 will build a double-unit home with sanitation and a water component.
The non-profit has participated in the annual campaign since it started in 2012, with the goal of turning Giving Tuesday into a holiday tradition for its donors.
“Every act of kindness and every donation means so much more when we give together,” said Angel Aloma, the organization’s executive director.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office on Monday urged residents to do their research before donating to a charity and watch for scams as part of the Giving Tuesday campaign. The office’s website FloridaConsumerHelp.com lets donors view a charity’s financial information and registration status.