It’s Giving Tuesday and You Have a Choice to Make

Today is #GivingTuesday, a beautiful day focused on generosity. It’s become a global movement. 

Last #GivingTuesday, online donations totaled more than $400 million in 150 countries and generated more than 14.2 billion media impressions. That’s a lot of good being spread around the world.

But today is also an important opportunity to think about who doesn’t typically get funding and why.

Vanessa Daniel is the executive director of Groundswell, an organization that supports the community organizing efforts of transgender and women of color. She says that the MVPs of social change, black women, are left out of the loop.

From her recent opinion piece in the New York Times:

“I run a national public foundation, and I see up close that the people who are overrepresented in success at social change—women of color who lead grass-roots nonprofits—are wildly underrepresented in funding. Only 0.6 percent of foundation giving was targeted to women of color in 2016. The record for individual donors is not much better. 

Our misdirected philanthropy is costing us beyond measure. A mountain of evidence shows progressive victories are surging up from groups led by women of color, particularly black women, that build power on the ground—not trickling down from large Beltway organizations headed by white men.”

George Marks—Getty Images

It’s also why lots of small donations can make such a difference. 

Aniyia Williams of Black & Brown Founders, Ellen Pao of Project Include, Karla Monterroso of Code2040, and Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls CODE made a similar point in a group Medium post.

They’re all women of color. They each run an organization dedicated to improving the diversity and quality of the tech sector, and like all nonprofit executives, they all worry if they will have the resources they need to keep going and growing. 

But they also know that big money can come with big problems.

“Our organizations run lean, with less money and fewer people than we’d like, and we squeeze the most of every minute of the day,” they write. “At this point in time, we must all recognize an uncomfortable truth: Our success relies on upending the status quo. The success of tech capitalists, their foundations, and big foundations in general relies on maintaining it.”

So, as you enjoy your Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to consider including the smaller, leaner organizations hiding in plain sight, and especially those run by people who look like the communities they wish to serve. 

When trickling up means breaking barriers down, a small amount of money, time, or social capital can go a long way.

Ellen McGirt