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Giving Tuesday: United Way says simple ideas make best gifts in McHenry County area

Heather Arnold
Heather Arnold

Isn’t it funny how the simplest ideas are often the best ones? I recently came across a quote from Charlie Munger that really has me thinking: “Take a simple idea and take it seriously.” There’s a lot of power in that statement and it easily translates into our own lives. From a tiny spark you see the launch of your business, or an idea you’ve been mulling over leads you down a new path, or perhaps an inkling of something you were tossing around brings you to your lifelong passion project. Powerful.

Giving Tuesday was one of those things born from a simple idea in 2012. It was launched as a day that would encourage people to do good. A very easy, down-to-earth concept. And frankly, one that seems fitting in today’s current climate. It stemmed from a partnership with New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, spinning off into its own organization. The focus was set to be an international generosity crusade, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities.

For the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity around the world. Take last year’s numbers for example. According to givingtuesday.org, in 2018,

• 150+ countries participated in Giving Tuesday

• $400 million was raised online

• There were 14.2 billion social media impressions

• The mean online donation was $105.55

Some pretty impressive stats for a simple idea, right?

Every year, Giving Tuesday falls five days after Thanksgiving. This year we are celebrating on Dec. 3. It’s really the perfect time of year, as it kicks off the holiday season which, as some have argued, is flush with commercialization and consumerism.

United Way of Greater McHenry County also was born out of a simple idea: to help local organizations with fundraising. Fifty-three years later, we still are going strong, granting $1.1 million to 29 local organizations in July. Through the programs that we help fund and our partner agencies, we help 1 in 4 people in McHenry County. Powerful.

This year, we are excited to announce that we have four local companies as matching gift sponsors: Associated Electrical Contractors, Aurora University Woodstock Center, Corporate Disk Company and Service Printing Corporation. With their help and generosity, donations made to United Way on Dec. 3 will be matched up to $6,000. A great opportunity for our organization and the residents who are touched by what we do.

I encourage everyone to take the simple idea of doing good on Dec. 3 and do it seriously. Consider getting involved in Giving Tuesday this year. There are so many deserving organizations that could use the help and it’s a perfect time of year to make that end-of-the-year gift you have been pondering, or increase your gift because you feel you have been blessed this year. What’s better is your donation could be matched, making your impact that much greater!

If you are interested in learning more about United Way of Greater McHenry County and the organizations and programs we support or helping us reach our Giving Tuesday goal, check out our website at www.givingbacktomchenrycounty.org.

• Heather Arnold is director of marketing and communications for United Way of Greater McHenry County

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