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Family and friends. Gratitude and generosity. Community and connection. These words embody the spirit and feelings of the season of thanks and giving we celebrate at this time of year. For many nonprofit organizations, the kick-off to this season is Giving Tuesday, and it is upon us, on Dec. 3.

In 2012, the idea for Giving Tuesday was born, the brainchild of the 92 Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation. The plan was to foster global generosity movement that continues today.

It harnesses the power of individuals and organizations to give in support of and in collaboration with their communities. Through online and social media outreach campaigns, Giving Tuesday demonstrates the simple idea that anyone can be a philanthropist and, together, we CanDo amazing things to help our local and global neighbors.

Held each year on the Tuesday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, the support coalescing around this day has grown exponentially. Since its inception seven years ago, individuals, businesses, and community groups have supported nonprofit causes totaling more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone. That’s critical at a time when individual charitable donations in the United States are down, largely due to tax law revisions.

Several nonprofit groups with both a Napa County and wider presence take part in Giving Tuesday, many of whom discuss their campaign plans via their social media accounts and websites. On the Move: VOICES hopes to raise $15,000 to provide over 750 homeless youth in Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties with urgent and necessary resources, such as food and cookware, clothing, temporary shelter, and baby supplies (for those who have families) this winter season.

The Staglin Family’s One Mind, is a patient-led and patient-centric leading mental health nonprofit. It focuses on healing the lives of people impacted by brain illness and injury. Influenced by their son Brandon’s schizophrenia diagnosis, Shari and Garen Staglin launched One Mind in 1995 to bridge the gaps that they saw in mental health research funding and patient support.

Children’s Museum of Napa Valley, an almost two-years new nonprofit in Napa, is working to create a space for Napa Valley’s children to learn and grow through exploration and play. Their goal is to build a place for sparking curiosity, while promoting a love of learning.

Many other nonprofit organizations from American Canyon to Calistoga are once again gearing up to celebrate this global day of giving by focusing locally. Napa Valley CanDo, an all-volunteer nonprofit, embraces Giving Tuesday with its highly successful annual Give!Guide. Since Giving Tuesday falls right in the middle of Napa’s Give!Guide campaign (Nov. 1 - Dec. 31), it’s a win-win.

In six editions to date, CanDo’s Napa Valley Give!Guide has raised awareness for over 100 local nonprofits and brought in more than $1.8 million. CanDo takes no fee for orchestrating the project.

Whether you’re a young or first-time donor, or someone of any age who may not yet see yourself as being in a position to give, Napa Valley CanDo's Give!Guide is for you. With tax-deductible donations starting at $10, the price of a movie or a coffee and sweet roll, you have the power to make a real difference right here at home. As CanDo says, "You want to help. We make it easy."

Bright orange catalogs featuring this year’s 46 participating nonprofits were distributed in Marketplace magazine and the Calistoga Tribune. They’re also available in each of the county’s libraries and other public places. In addition, a user-friendly website, CanDoGiveGuide.org, accepts donations, highlights nonprofits’ available matching funds and special opportunities, and lets donors see how each group is faring with a real-time ticker.

Every Give!Guide donor receives tax-deductible receipts and a 'thank you' certificate for gifts from local vendors to be used in January: chocolates from Anette’s Chocolates, beer from Tannery Bend Beerworks, Crayolas from Napa Valley Art Supplies, a surprise gift from the CIA at Copia, and coffee from Ritual Coffee Roasters.

And we couldn’t do it without our Give!Guide Guardians, the Napa Valley Vintners, the City of Napa and Napa Recycling and Waste Services, Mechanics Bank, and new this year, AUL and Blue Oak School.

As we make space for gratitude and thanks through Giving Tuesday and beyond, we hope you will be inspired to consider what you CanDo for others. For more information, visit CanDoGive!Guide.org or call (707) 252-7743.

Liz Russell and Hilary Zunin

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