Today is a first. It's day for giving back. And I'm honored to wish you a very happy #GivingTuesday.
Organizations and individuals around the country are uniting to celebrate one of our greatest traditions -- generosity. No matter what our backgrounds, religious beliefs or political affiliations, we all share a commitment to giving.
We are so proud that #GivingTuesday came to life at 92nd Street Y. We are honored to be at the heart of this great community of people who have eagerly committed to what Jewish tradition calls "repairing the world."
"Giving back" and creating vibrant, supportive communities have been at the core of our mission since our founding nearly 140 years ago. No matter what we do, we believe we are stronger when we do it together -- when people of all racial, religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds unite the in the service of a shared goal.
What happens at 92Y inspires me every day. As the notion of community changes and we become increasingly connected around the globe, I am more convinced than ever that connected communities have the potential to be a tremendously powerful force for good. We are living in a world today where geographic boundaries no longer limit human interactions. And that's a good thing, since the challenges we face are so great that we all need to become part of a global community so we can take action and have a positive impact each other's lives.
That's why 92Y developed an annual fellowship program, with the support of Ford Motor Company, which has brought 233 NGO leaders from 58 countries to 92Y for nonprofit management training every summer. That's why we joined forces with the United Nations Foundation and Mashable to present the annual Social Good Summit in September -- launched in 2010 and broadcast live on the web -- to provide a platform for discussing the use of social media and new technology for good. That's why we bring the world-class artists, entertainers, writers, thinkers and statesmen who grace our stage night after night to audiences around the world through satellite-broadcasts, live webcasts and a growing online archive.
But every community is made up of individual people in specific places, and 92Y is still very much a local institution. More than 300,000 people walk through our "brick-and-mortar" facilities every year, from the concert hall and cinema to the art studios and summer camps. I am honored to spend my days at 92Y, inspired by the many remarkable personal journeys I have witnessed here, in our hallways and classrooms and performance spaces...
... By the radiant faces of 8,000 public school children every year who get to listen to classical, jazz or world music at 92Y's outreach concerts;
... By teenagers in our Poetry Center Schools Program who are exposed not only to the power of literature, but electrified by award-winning writers -- in person, over pizza and in our auditorium;
... By the ebullient and talented young dancers, musicians and artists in our scholarship programs and studios;
... And by the dedication and bravery of people with special needs who learn, dance and grow with us in programs designed to make not only their needs, but their humanity, special.
There is no "global" community without local neighborhoods and individual people coming together. What happens on your block, in your neighbor's house, in your child's school, in the water you drink and the air you breathe -- those are the building blocks of a global community. Bringing the global impact of technology together with local organizations is what #GivingTuesday is all about. It's about using social media to reach and activate a huge number of people in a very short period of time so that they can take action in their own communities to help improve their world and inspire others to the do the same.
So join us, commit an act of giving today, celebrate the power of community and do your part to "repair the world" on this first #GivingTuesday.
This blog is part of our #GivingTuesday series, produced by The Huffington Post and the teams at InterAction, 92nd Street Y,United Nations Foundation, and others. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday - which takes place for the first time on Tuesday, November 27 - is a movement intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note. Go to www.givingtuesday.org to learn more and get involved.