- Nancy Flores American-Statesman Staff
Central Texans donated more than $700,000 for nonprofits around the world on Giving Tuesday, according to I Live Here I Give Here. The Austin-based nonprofit this year served as the Central Texas leader for the global campaign that occurs annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
I Live Here I Give Here, which also produces the 24-hour online giving campaign Amplify Austin, set a Giving Tuesday goal of 1 million “actions for good,” which included both monetary donations as well as acts of service such as pledging to volunteer for an organization or adopting a pet from a shelter. Central Texans surpassed the goal, accumulating more than 1.6 million “actions for good.”
“Giving Tuesday has been a time to give thanks for what our city and region give to us and support the organizations that make this community sustainable and vibrant for all,” said Celeste Flores, executive director of I Live Here I Give Here. “This being the first year that I Live Here I Give Here was involved in the Giving Tuesday campaign, we were overwhelmed by the local outpouring of support and charitable giving on this worldwide holiday.”
Donation totals from local businesses are still being tallied, but Austin-area companies including BuildASign, Silicon Labs, Rackspace, RetailMeNot and EZCorp combined to contribute more than $100,000 plus volunteer hours and in-kind donations. About 665 “actions for good” were accumulated at a pop-up event at the Livestrong Foundation headquarters last week. Local nonprofits such as the Austin Diaper Bank and the American Honey Bee Protection Agency offered volunteer opportunities as well as family-friendly activities at the event.
Some of the top organizations that benefited from the Giving Tuesday campaign include the Central Texas Food Bank. Thanks to a triple-matching gift from NFL player Kelvin Beachum Jr., the food bank raised $80,000, which is equivalent to about 960,000 meals. Austin Pets Alive raised about $20,000 in addition to finding forever homes for 12 animals. Austin’s PBS affiliate KLRU-TV received more than $60,000 from more than 380 donors.
Camp Kesem, which helps families nationwide affected by a cancer diagnosis, exceeded its fundraising goal of $15,000 and received $27,164 from Central Texas, which will allow 50 additional children to attend the camp. Across the country, the organization raised $1.8 million.
“I’m thrilled to share that we can put these dollars to immediate use to pull children off of our waiting list and expand our service reach,” Kesem CEO Jane Saccaro said in a video message to supporters.