After a day for giving thanks, and several days for getting shopping deals, came Giving Tuesday (also known as #GivingTuesday), a global day dedicated to giving back. The Golden Belt Community Foundation helped introduce this unofficial holiday to central Kansas this year by promising to enhance donations to its 30 endowed funds with a matching pool of $30,000.
“Giving Tuesday in charity’s answer to Black Friday,” said Christy Tustin, executive director of the Golden Belt Community Foundation. Tustin and her staff found several local donors who were willing to provide the match pool. Participating organizations were told that donations they turned in on Tuesday, Dec. 2, would be eligible for a proportional share. For example, if a group raised 10 percent of the total raised Tuesday, it would receive 10 percent of the $30,000 — or $3,000.
There will also be cash awards for the group that raises the most money, and the one with the most donors.
The Prairie Godmothers, a group created by women to help women, got a jump on Giving Tuesday Monday night with a Match and Mingle Cocktail at the Knights of Columbus in Great Bend. This holiday cocktail party included refreshments, violin music by Great Bend USD 428 orchestra teacher Isaac Enochs, and opportunities to make end-of-year, tax-deductible donations. The sponsors found themselves collecting gifts for all 30 of the organizations participating in Giving Tuesday through the Golden Belt Community Foundation.
Rachel Mawhirter, from the Prairie Godmothers Advisory Board, said the first $1,000 donated Monday night to the Prairie Godmothers had been matched by an anonymous donor.
Another advisory board member, Sheryl Cheely, talked about some of the “wishes” the group has answered. The Godmothers helped one woman pay for a set of dentures. They also helped a single mom with a special needs child go back to school, Cheely said.
Other groups in central Kansas also had early events so supporters’ gifts could be turned in to the foundation on Tuesday. United Way of Central Kansas, conducting its own annual fund drive, invited people to visit local banks on Monday to make donations, and the Barton County Extension office served breakfast Tuesday morning to encourage people to donate to the Barton County 4-H.
On Tuesday, money was delivered directly to the foundation office or to designated satellites in Pawnee, Rush and Stafford counties. Tustin said it will take a few days before she knows how much was raised, but her office saw a steady flow of donors throughout the day.
“I think we’ve easily surpassed that $30,000 mark,” she said. “We’re very pleased with how the day went."