Why Give? Gratitude and Giving for #GivingTuesday

I found a great deal of difficulty in getting this post underway. Whenever I thought about writing to highlight #GivingTuesday this week, the collaborative movement for giving back taking place on December 2, the only thing I could think of was the anguish that members of Michael Brown's family and the community in and around Ferguson, MO must have been feeling while many of us began to roll out the Thanksgiving holiday. In spite of my appreciation for aligning Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season with the kickoff of the holiday giving season, it was difficult to see the relevance of garnering support for a day dedicated to giving when the wound in Ferguson is so fresh. Yet a shift in my thinking came about when I began to focus on one thing... gratitude.

On the other side of responding to all of the turmoil facing our nation and world, is the propensity to be explicitly grateful for all that I do have, and I do have a lot. I am blessed with my family, health, safe shelter, a full stomach and the ability to live freely. My gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with my family was particularly potent this Thanksgiving weekend. It brought up in me the kind of unconditional love that can only be sustained by passing it on to others. As a firm believer that I can't keep what I don't give away, I was ecstatic for Human Intonation to join in as a partner for this year's #GivingTuesday and there is gratitude for the gift of harnessing recent disappointment into an opportunity to take action to give back in an impactful way.

So how can we G.I.V.E.?

G. Get out and donate your time. #GivingTuesday channels the generous spirit of the holiday season inspiring us, whether one-on-one or in groups of large numbers, to give of our time in being of service to and speaking up for others.

I. Invest in your community's growth, sustainability, and future. Give dollars to organizations near and far with a mission that speaks to you. As #GivingTuesday grows there are now more than 16,000 organizations participating and many more organizations to come.

V. Valuate your impact. By letting others know how you are giving via the power of social media or by becoming a social media ambassador for #GivingTuesday, we can create a national movement synonymous with holiday give back #unselfie

E. Encourage others to participate. Tap your friends and network to transform how they think about, talk about and participate in giving their time and dollars to the causes of their choice for #GivingTuesday and beyond.

In celebration of #GivingTuesday, I am committed to highlighting two of our Non-Profit Partners including HandsOn New Orleans and Advocates for Youth, while volunteering to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and to uplifting our young people of color. I am grateful for this year's #GivingTuesday to coincide with World AIDS Day and to continue our workshops that teach children to value their own lives even when others do not. I am reminded of the valuable contribution and dedication of so many who work in the trenches across such organizations that strengthen our families, save our youth, and are committed to helping those in need. The fact is that we can do something too. I will be giving this #GivingTuesday and all year long because I am simply too blessed not to. I am extremely proud to be a part of the #GivingTuesday movement and encourage each of us to join.