Thanksgiving Thursday, Then #GivingTuesday


Sol Adler, executive director of the 92nd Street Y, got special delight out of paying some bills on the Chase Bank website on Sunday — before logging off, he noticed an announcement for “Giving Tuesday,” a national program under the Y’s auspices that will start next week.

Giving Tuesday — the initiative’s official name is #GivingTuesday, featuring the Twitter hashtag symbol — originated at the Y during the last year, designed to encourage Americans from all backgrounds to give, either their money or their time, to some worthy cause of their choosing.

Giving Tuesday, following the annual celebration of Thanksgiving on a Thursday in November, offers an alternative to Black Friday (the mega-shopping day after Thanksgiving that unofficially starts the holiday shopping season) and Cyber Monday the next week (the start of wide-scale shopping on the Internet), says Adler.

“We knew Tuesday was in play,” not claimed by any major commercial tradition, not an off-limits holy day to any major faith, said Henry Timms, the Y’s deputy executive director who helped draw up Giving Tuesday.

Like the shipping season, the “giving season” will, if successful, last through the end of the year, Timms said.

The Y had hoped to enlist at least 100 nonprofit and commercial sponsors, Timms said. Through promotions on social media, the number has grown to more than 1,000, in all 50 states, he said — the list includes UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish National Fund, American Jewish World Service, Microsoft and J.C. Penney.

Participants will be encouraged to make monetary pledges or sign up to volunteer their time via the partners listed on or by approaching any charity not yet on the list.

“Charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the giving season,” the Giving Tuesday website states.

Giving Tuesday is part of the Y’s mandate to bring the concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) to the wider community, Adler said. “We’re very proud that the Jewish community has been able to provide leadership.”

The initiative is in the spirit of the national “Mitzvah Day” project, in which participants at various Jewish institutions perform chesed activities. The Y’s Mitzvah Day program on Sunday drew several hundred adults and children.

The Y will kick off Giving Tuesday with a “thanking event” Tuesday at its Tribeca branch, and will sponsor a concert in Bryant Park.

Among the high-profile corporate sponsors for the project are Chase Bank (hence the publicity on its website) and Microsoft.