THE BLOG
12/01/2014 04:12 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

Giving Tuesday

I'm part of a philanthropic family. Not the Bill-Gates-gazillionaire philanthropic family, but the do-what-you-can-for-those-who-can't sort of philanthropic family. Whether that means going to a soup kitchen and feeding the homeless, walking around a track for this/that/the other cause, buying cookie dough to supports my nieces and nephews, or -- in the absence of time or money -- using words to spread the word about things that are worthy causes.

I don't come from a monied family. It's unlikely that anyone in my family will ever be monied. And you know what? I'm okay with these things. Well. I'm not not okay with these things. I -- we -- wouldn't argue with not having to worry about money, but there's a lot more that enriches our lives that money could never buy. My nieces and nephews are more remarkable than anything I could then go out and buy at a store or dealer. My brothers and sisters? Equally so. Even when they're being brats. I could wax poetic about my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles, but I'll save all that for a time when you ask for it.

This is a post about how despite not having the money to give back big, we end up giving back in ways that we can. We give five bucks here, ten bucks there, an hour here, an hour there. I often write posts like this -- to spread word about a particularly worthy cause or two in the hopes that maybe thirty people will be able to donate $10 and suddenly the collective we is donating $300 that can go a long way to making a difference in someone's life. This is connected to a movement that I hope gains greater and greater traction -- Giving Tuesday.

I have no idea where or when this started. I got an email last week from Horny Toad promoting not just Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but this concept of Giving Tuesday. Horny Toad (HT) and the distribution center they use outside Chicago has partnered for almost twenty years with an organization called Search, Inc. Since 1997 Planet Access Company (PAC) and Search, Inc., have worked together to empower and enrich adults with developmental disabilities, a demographic far too often overlooked. These men and women work to pick and pack the warehouse's orders. They get paid. They are so enthusiastic, so excited, to be treated with dignity and respect. That shouldn't be so much to ask, right?

Par for the course, this is all a long lead-in.

This year Search, Inc., is a part of the Coleman Foundation's Giving Tuesday Matching Grants Program -- the philanthropic answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This Tuesday the Coleman Foundation is offering a dollar-for-dollar match of donations up to $15,000. That can make a difference in the lives of so many who deserve a difference made in their lives because they've had their families and the state give up on them.

I've also been posting about a friend's efforts to raise money for Southern Maine's Animal Refuge League. Both of these are efforts that can make a very real difference in the lives of a lot of people (in the case of the ARL, a difference in the lives of animals). As I've said in most of my entreaties, it's not always easy to find the money to give this time of year, but with the ARL and Search, Inc., these are opportunities where five dollars can make a huge difference.

Let's do what we can to make Giving Tuesday a thing. Whether it's a dollar, a word, a hug or a smile we all have something we can give and each of these things are capable of changing the world.