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  • Ryan Bernardoni

Giving Tuesday 2019

There probably is a way to write about this without it seeming self aggrandizing but I'm not a good enough writer to know how to do that, so all I can do is say that I hope it doesn't come across that way.


For the second consecutive year I put out a call on Twitter for donations that I would match on Giving Tuesday (the only thing that makes the idea of Black Friday less awful). For the second consecutive year, people stepped up to a level beyond what I had hoped.


Throughout the day, you submitted nearly $3,000 in donations on top of people highlighting charitable work they're putting their time and effort into.


My main take-away was the variety of causes that people support, and that need our support. Nearly 40 different charities were submitted with the average donation being $75 and the median being $50. Those figures triple after I match and then my employer's foundation does, and in some cases quadruple or more if extra matching is available.


Because I ask for confirmation screenshots of each donation, I also sometimes get a small glimpse at why a person may have chosen a certain cause. Donations that show an In Memoriam always hit a little harder. A person who submits two or three charities all with a similar purpose, often medical, must have a deeper meaning, too. I have similar thoughts when someone sends in a donation to work on a particularly rare condition. I imagine there are difficult stories behind many of these things.


Then there are those who include a little extra information in their tweet. I heard bits of personal stories about lost siblings and parents during the day; I never know how to respond to that but appreciate that people feel able to talk about it. Each year I donate to Lymphoma charities because in 2011 my brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. I also donate to hiking trail conservancy programs because, after going into remission, he responded by hiking the 3,000 mile Continental Divide Trail (becoming a "triple crown hiker" in the process) before conquering the Te Araroa in New Zealand and the American Pacific Northwest Trail. We all have our personal connections, I guess.


I also enjoyed seeing the different people preparing to run the Boston Marathon. Four people submitted their marathon teams, all running for different causes. It's December and there's snow on the ground but it takes a lot of preparation, both physical and financial, to get up Heartbreak Hill.


Conservation and animal rescue charities are also always popular. I have two shelter cats and so liked getting one this year that was as focused on them as dogs! My conservation charity of choice is related to my sister's work in education at the National Zoo, but there are many great ones out there.


To our great shame, there are of course also many people living without homes or food. Food banks, homeless shelters and programs, and housing assistance charities are critical and expensive. They need local support and not just around Thanksgiving turkey drives and Giving Tuesday donations, but every hour, can, coat, and dollar helps.


A sincere Thank You to everyone who participated yesterday. I'm fortunate to be able to back something like this but am well aware that not everyone is in the same situation. For many people it's simply not possible to give away money but often those same people are exceptionally charitable with their time and energy. For many others, giving $25 is more of a sacrifice in their every day lives than me giving $2,500 or someone else giving $25 million, and I cannot thank those who make that sacrifice enough.


Have a happy holidays and I promise to come back and pester you about this again next year.

I believe that it's important for charities to be transparent in their operations and so keep a ledger of all twitter-related donations in that same spirit. Last year's can be found here.


There were two large donations made yesterday by a friend of mine which is why we went from the original $2,000 goal up to $3,000.


I haven't submitted for corporate matching yet but believe that everything on the list is eligible. I'm not 100% certain on a few things processed via GoFundMe but have been able to get those approved before and so expect to be able to again.


One donation was made to match to a different charity that I was not completely comfortable with the mission statement of. Two donations were made to "match" on-the-ground work that people are doing. One match was increased to make it eligible for corporate matching and one so I could get a stuffed animal for my daughter.


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