Giving Tuesday: Make a difference in your community
Nov. 27 2018

Giving Tuesday: Make a difference in your community

Today is Giving Tuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the first Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving.   But this time of year, across various social media feeds, you’ll see this message: “If you’re thinking about donating to a charity, make sure it is the right one.”   The author’s concern is that some charities aren’t all that charitable.  Meanwhile, these articles break down the charities: the bulk of donations go to CEOs and upper management instead of the cause.

It’s depressing, isn’t it? In other words, donors hoping to find a cure for a disease might really just be helping a CEO buy another yacht?  The money intended to help feed a homeless veteran might be used for a fancy holiday party? As a result, it tarnishes the season of giving and reduces the desire we all have to share our good fortune with each other.  After all, how can you be certain of how your money is being used this holiday season?

Donate to Community-Based Organizations to see the biggest benefit

People assume that they need to donate to large charities in order to make a difference, but that simply isn’t the case.  You can easily affect change in your own community by donating to a community-based organization.  Community-based organizations (CBOs) are nonprofit groups that work at a local level to improve life for the community.  Several CBOs serve the disabled, veterans, children, low-income families, etc.  CBOs do not offer mere handouts; they offer the tools individuals and families need to succeed through outreach and education.  They are staffed by locals who want to help make a positive change in the various populations the CBO serves. 

 The Neighborhood Center is a CBO

It has been serving Utica and the surrounding communities for over 100 years.  The Neighborhood Center began in 1905 as a group of women that helped immigrants in beginning the naturalization process.  By 2017, The Neighborhood Center consisted of 26 programs that served over 44,000 individuals and families in Central New York.

The Neighborhood Center allows donors to designate where their funds go.  For example, are you interested in:

  • Keeping at-risk youth off the streets? You can donate $25.00 to support the Outreach and Prevention drop-in program.
  • Want to help adults with a mental health diagnosis through the recovery process? Help them by donating $100 towards Adult Recovery Services’ educational programs.
  • Concerned about suicide prevention? A donation of $250.00 helps support our MCAT services that provide 24/7 intervention available, mental health assessment, free of charge, crisis de-escalation and de-briefing.
  • Maybe you don’t have money to spare, but want to donate the most precious gift of all – your time.  Consider volunteering for our Circles program.  They seek community members to help inspire and equip families to thrive and rise out of poverty.

 As we enter the season of giving, we ask you to consider giving back to your home and your community.  Most importantly, where do you see the opportunity to make a difference?  After that, please consider making a gift to the Neighborhood Center by donating directly to them now to DONATE NOW  Learn more by visiting their website at

 “If I stand for anything, let it be known, that I love The Neighborhood Center with every ounce of my broken body and I am sorry I cannot do more.” – Dr. Marie A. Russo, a client of The Neighborhood Center’s Italian settlement house and Executive Director of The Neighborhood Center for 46 years


Jennifer Benn
Day Care Registration Program Director