In 2012, the first “Operation” undertaken by the BLK SHP was to join a small group of innovators affiliated with the 92 Street Y in New York City as well as the UN Foundation to co-found #GivingTuesday, designed to be an international day of social giving after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
#GivingTuesday has grown to become a global giving movement in over 60 countries and raised over $1 billion for social causes in 2018. But in the beginning, many people scoffed at the idea. “An international day of giving?” we were routinely asked by skeptics.
Henry Timms, then president of the 92 Street Y, had the original idea for #GivingTuesday, then formed a core “motley posse” (as we came to call it in BLK SHP speak). Surrounded by an array of influencers, we set out to prove the viability of an audacious idea.
The BLK SHP lined up a range of key supporters from our ecosystem – ranging from senior leaders at GE, to philanthropic partners, from social innovators in the middle of the country, to officials at The White House who ultimately secured a Presidential endorsement on the first #GivingTuesday.
We were off to the races in the United States. The next step was to build a global movement around giving. Once again, the BLK SHP ecosystem provided crucial partnerships for expansion, including to take #GivingTuesday into the United Kingdom and Europe.
Since then, #GivingTuesday has educated millions of people globally about micro-donations, and indeed became a movement of its own, raising approximately $1 billion globally this past year for social causes with $3.6 million donors in the US alone.
The #GivingTuesday experience was formative for BLK SHP in many ways. It helped us realize the power of small motley posses taking action on top of our increasingly global ecosystem, while affirming Margaret Meade’s wisdom — never doubt that a small group of people can change the world.