“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful creation that started in 2012 and has become a worldwide phenomenon. Basically, it’s a reaction to some of the extreme gift buying that happens right after Thanksgiving with Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Jocelyn Harmon, Executive Vice President of Community Engagement and Marketing at the United Way of Dane County.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration that is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

“There was sort of a backlash to it where people were saying, ‘You’re spending all of this money in this materialistic time: what if there was a day set aside where you could actually give back to your community or give back to a cause?’ What if we took some of the money we are spending on materialistic items and we gave back instead?” Harmon tells Madison365. “It’s a pretty cool phenomenon and it’s been growing since 2012. It really lives in social media.”

It’s a great time for non-profits at the end of the year to get their message out, Harmon adds.

The United Way, whose mission is to fight for the education, financial stability, and health of everyone in Dane County, is encouraging Dane County shoppers to put some of their dollars toward a program that will benefit local kids and will help a local child become better prepared to start school. In today’s #GivingTuesday effort, they are working with their partner organization, RISE, to support the local Parent-Child Home Program.

All gifts collected on #GivingTuesday will be used to support Parent-Child Home Program by purchasing books and educational toys to help local children become better prepared to start school and succeed in life.

The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) is a nationally recognized program that provides low-income families with skills and tools to ensure their children can achieve their greatest potential in school. All gifts collected on #GivingTuesday will be used to support PCHP by purchasing books and educational toys to help local children become better prepared to start school and succeed in life. Parent-Child Home is a national program that provides low-income families what they need to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life.

“The Parent-Child Home Program is a really great program involving home visitation. When you are investing in this program, you are actually going to be giving dollars to educational toys and books that help assist the home visitation for those two- to four-year-olds who are getting kindergarten-ready,” Harmon says.

PCHP provides two years of twice-weekly 30 minute visits to families with children between the ages 2 and 4 years who are challenged by poverty, isolation, limited educational opportunities, language and literacy barriers, and other obstacles to healthy development and educational success.

Of the local four-year-olds who graduate from PCHP, 93 percent are ready to start 4-K.

“We are so appreciative of the generosity of our community. This time of year is a great time to give back,” says United Way of Dane County President & CEO Renee Moe. “At United Way, we encourage you to take part in #GivingTuesday with a gift that will measurably and meaningfully invest in local children and their families. Locally, about 1,800 children between the ages of 2 and 4 live in poverty. The program currently reaches 170 of those children. We would like to expand these exceptional school-ready and parent successes to more Dane County children.”

Renee Moe / Photo courtesy Brava Magazine

“These wonderful programs do so much for the individuals that we reach, but we can’t reach everyone,” Harmon adds. “As much as we can do, we try to reach the individuals that we can reach and make them have wonderful experiences and get kindergarten-ready. Wouldn’t it be great if we could reach all of those 1,800 kids that we aren’t reaching right now?”

You can donate to benefit United Way’s Parent-Child Home Program in partnership with RISE #GivingTuesday by clicking here.

“The holidays really inspire people to have that giving spirit and we really want to be there to provide an easy way for that to be facilitated,” Harmon says. “And we are really excited about the Parent-Child Home Program.”

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.