Jaclyn Suffel’s passion for #GivingTuesday is made very apparent during our recent lunch conversation to discuss this important day of giving back which takes place both locally and nationwide. She serves as Strategic Communications Manager for the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence and explains in depth why the Tuesday following Thanksgiving is of such importance to her and the organization. Now entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to engage in the spirit of philanthropy after many of us have splurged on purchases between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Though a national campaign, Jaclyn has focused her energy on ensuring that here in the Mid-South #GivingTuesday is a movement rather than a 24 hour window of activity.
Through the Grit.Grind.Give campaign she has spearheaded, Jaclyn has transformed a single day of giving into an entire month of reflection for those who desire to give and recognition for the organizations that survive-and thrive- because of this giving. In our city, especially, she shares, “If you stop and think of things you really enjoy in Memphis, there is a nonprofit behind it.” So I stop, right in the middle of our conversation, and think about it. She’s right. As a lover of the arts, I’ve attended events thanks to nonprofits such as ArtsMemphis and DeltaARTS. As a proponent of access to equal and excellent educational opportunities for children with learning disabilities, places such as the Bodine School and Concord Academy are well-deserving of every penny that is given to them. A big believer in second chances, I applaud nonprofits such as Dress for Success and HopeWorks, Inc. for offering those chances and giving the men and women with whom they work an opportunity to nurture their innate gifts and talents. These organizations, and so many more, are all part of the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence and all will reap the benefits of #GivingTuesday. “I don’t care who you give to,” Jaclyn stresses. “Just give.”
As we reflect on the success of last year’s #GivingTuesday and the opportunity that exists for continued growth, what struck a chord with me is that there is no cookie-cutter way of giving because we live in a city void of cookie-cutter lives. Memphis is a place rich with deep-seated cultural and historical narratives and we are often led to give based on the narrative we know, making the act of giving a very personal one. “This is what makes Memphis a great place to live,” Jaclyn considers. I agree, believing that many times when a Memphian gives it is not for recognition but for the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s narrative. Because here, it is personal.
Our city is built on the courage and determination of those who seek to make it a better place for all and nonprofits are often the gateways to fulfilling this mission.
The sustenance of a city’s devotion to helping those in need not because it is fiscally rewarding but because it is the right thing to do can be hard work. For the many nonprofits in Memphis whose staff and volunteers labor every, single day to perform this work as best they can, the difficulties aren’t deterrents; they are motivation to grow the movement.
Memphis is the third most generous city in the country. This is by choice, not coincidence.
Be part of the movement this year. As Jaclyn stated, it doesn’t matter what nonprofit you give to, or even how much; in fact, you can split your gift amongst several of them. Whatever choice you make, know that your act of giving is honored, no matter the amount.
This #GivingTuesday, let’s Grit.Grind.Give.
Photo Credit: used with permission from Jeff Posson in support of Grit.Grind.Give