How to Give Back to Chicago on Giving Tuesday
While the unofficial American holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday revolve around consumerism and deals on merchandise, Giving Tuesday is all about giving back. Whether it’s getting involved in your community, donating to a cause you believe in or gifting a Chicago Ideas Membership, there are a lot of ways to give back to your city. We’ve compiled a few ways that you can give back to Chicago not only on Giving Tuesday, but throughout the year.
Donate and volunteer with local organizations and causes that resonate with you. Chicago is filled to the brim with inspiring groups that are changing the city for the better (we listed off a handful of them here). The state of Illinois has a comprehensive database of volunteer opportunities in Chicago and beyond that can be a great resource to find organizations you’d like to get involved with. Every single one of Chicago’s neighborhoods is home to organizations that rely on community support, so you don’t need to travel very far to find a way to give back and make a positive impact.
Buy gifts that give back. Consider killing two birds with one stone this Giving Tuesday by purchasing a holiday gift from a local organization that is sparking positive change in the city and beyond. You can buy some honey and skin products from Sweet Beginnings, which helps formerly incarcerated people train and work at apiaries and production facilities across the city. If you buy a bouquet from Flowers for Dreams, you’ll not only be making a sweet gesture, but also a donation to a local charity (the company has donated more than $160,000 to local charities since its launch in 2012). Another great gift idea is a gift card to The Kitchen, a local restaurant with a nonprofit branch that supports learning gardens across the country. There are ample ways to buy a gift that gives back in Chicago—the three above are just a jumping off point.
Donate your skills pro bono. Take your volunteering efforts a step further by leveraging your professional skill set for a good cause. Are you a lawyer? Consider getting involved with The Exoneration Project, a free legal clinic at the University of Chicago Law School that represents the wrongfully convicted. Do you work in medicine? You could volunteer at a Community Health clinic to help provide health care to uninsured people across Chicago.
Start a fundraising campaign for a local cause that you believe in. Looking to help your neighborhood build a new community center? Maybe the public school down the street from you can’t afford to fund its music program. Heck, maybe you want to help an 89-year-old paleta vendor find a path to retirement. Whatever the cause, sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have inherently changed the way that fundraising and crowdfunding takes place. If there’s a problem that you’re itching to solve in your community, finding funding for a solution is just a few clicks away.