After a bumpy, halting economic reopening after two years of a pandemic, corporations are looking to spread some holiday cheer.
They are particularly are looking to spread that cheer today, as November 30th is “Giving Tuesday”, a hashtag started in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation in 2012, that grew into a global movement.
Nine years since the first event, Giving Tuesday 2021’s goal remains the same: For individuals, philanthropists and Good Samaritans to make a positive impact on the world around them. Director of Communities for Giving Tuesday Celeste Flores says, “It was a day that was created simply to encourage people to do good.”
John Hancock is also participating, with its 2021 Acts of Kindness Program, through which it is giving each of its 50,000 employees $50 to create an act of kindness of their own in their local community.
'We Are All in This Together'
As the first full year of the pandemic, 2020 was a traumatic year for millions, and last year, corporations like Penguin Random House, Banana Republic and Facebook helped Giving Tuesday reach new levels of charity. One year later, the trend is continuing, with high expectations today for corporations to make a positive impact for those in need.
Corporations such as Instacart, Michael Kors, KFC and Citi Bank all will be donating to nonprofits in need this year. Dell will even donate one new laptop to a student in need for every laptop traded in between today and December 30th. Other corporations like pet supply giant Chewy are matching up to $2 million of customer donations from November 24th to November 30th to give to animal welfare charities.
The wide plethora of corporations participating is a positive sign in a year that has seen millions of Americans struggle with increased poverty and rising prices. Hamish Gray, SVP of corporate services at Keysight Technologies, says: "This Giving Tuesday is a great time to reflect on more meaningful community impacts based on learnings from the last couple years." Gray further stresses that in the era of COVID, Giving Tuesday shows the need for a strong “We Are All in This Together” approach to improving prosperity for everyone.
While not overtly the main theme of Giving Tuesday, a notable addition to Giving Tuesday is a focus by some businesses on social justice, particularly given the aftermath of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Subsequent moves by corporations to increase inclusion and diversity reflect this change. CEO of the makeup company Winky Lux, Natalie Mackey, chose to give to the Million Dollar Women Fund, an organization that Mackey says “addresses social economic change through helping female entrepreneurs.”
Expectations for this year’s Giving Tuesday are already so high, that any corporate donation underperformance of years prior may come as a disappointment to those participating.
Companies Donate $980 Per Employee
On a broad scale, underperformance is one word that comes to mind when reading an Axios report detailing how “corporate giving in 2021 is lower than previous years.” As of October 1st, 2021, a cumulative amount of $980 in cumulative monthly donations per donating employee was given to charity, a number that may seem impressive at first glance, but lags behind 2019 and 2020’s total.
Last year, a record $2.47 billion was donated on Giving Tuesday alone. It remains to be seen how this year’s Giving Tuesday, and broader corporate donations as a whole, will compare, as we move towards closing the book on 2021.
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