Today is Giving Tuesday. This event was created in 2012 by the New York City 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season that became fueled by technology and social media. This movement inspires millions of people across the globe to show up and give back to causes and issues that matter to them.

So we thought it would be appropriate to share links to the causes and organizations we care about.

Britt – Indiana Bulldog Rescue

There are many great pet rescues in the Indy area, but the Indiana Bulldog Rescue (IBR) will always remain nearest and dearest to my heart. We first crossed paths in 2014 when my partner and I were looking to adopt our first dog together. And although our adopted bully, Valerie, wasn’t with us long, the impact she (and IBR) had on our lives still resonates to this day.

Indiana Bulldog Rescue takes in, rehabilitates, and (in most cases) finds new “furever homes” for bulldogs in need. Valerie, for example, was a breeder rescue. For the first 5 years of her life, she was cut open at least twice a year to birth puppies. As horrible as that sounds, Val was luckier than many dogs that come into IBR’s care. Many have life-long disorders that cause sensory issues, incontinence, immobility, and even difficulty eating.

The secret behind IBR’s success is their network of exceptional volunteers. From screening potential new pet parents, working events, and even fostering dogs, these exceptional workers dedicate a majority of their free time and energy to IBR’s cause. I know they’re always looking for help, so check out their website if you’re interested in joining their cause or adopting a bully.

Lorraine –  Indy Fringe

I have always believed what turns a city into a world class city is not the number of professional sports teams, but the vibrancy of the arts community. That’s why my favorite non-profit is Indy Fringe. Their mission is to encourage, support, and assist independent artists in our community. They provide an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the community together and inspires creative experience through the arts.

If you are looking for me in the month of August, or on a random Friday throughout the year, you will find me in my seat at one of their performances.

Raven – The Gifted Gown

I was first introduced to The Gifted Gown spring of 2018 when my mom asked me if I would like to volunteer as one of their stylists. The Gifted Gown is an organization that provides formal attire to the community, free of charge, regardless of demographic. This organization is amazing to me because every person that walks in the door to be dressed for their special occasion is treated as an individual, with a unique style and overall goal.

The event that I volunteered for as a stylist was for a high school prom. There were excited teens from all backgrounds that were so grateful to have an opportunity to feel beautiful and/or handsome for their very first prom. We were with each person from beginning to end, to find the right style whether it was hi-low, strapless, or a beautiful Cinderella gown as well as the right accessories and pair of shoes. There were multiple times that I would overhear ecstatic parents thanking the committee so much for the dedication to helping their kids because they knew financially that dress or tux shopping wasn’t ever going to be an option.

The Gifted Gown allows for amazing people in our community the opportunity to shine all across greater Indianapolis. They are always in need of passionate volunteers with a wide range of duties and an eagerness to make someone’s special event absolutely amazing.

Sam – Second Helpings

For over 20 years, Second Helpings has been an amazing local Indianapolis organization. Second Helpings takes donated and/or overstocked perishable foods that would otherwise be tossed out and uses them to prepare meals for hungry children, adults, and families in need in the area. The organization runs solely on the kindness of donations to stock its pantry and volunteers to help prepare the meals resulting in a tremendous impact on thousands of those who are less fortunate in the Indianapolis area.

Second Helpings holds a special place to me, as several of my family members are regular volunteers. Last year, team Roundpeg  also volunteered for a day. This was my first time but it won’t be my last.

They also do some amazing work for the unemployed and underemployed looking to find a career in food service and culinary arts by offering a Culinary Job Training program within the facility and assist in job placement after graduation.

SimonThe Dayspring Center 

I first learned about The Dayspring Center while out with my Synagogue for Tikkun Olam (Healing the World) Day. Thinking I’d learn some valuable kitchen skills, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at Dayspring; little did I know, however, that I’d be manning the wash line that evening.

The Dayspring Center’s mission statement is “Helping homeless families find their way home” – and they’ve done just that for an impressive number of families. The sad fact is that the average age of a homeless person is 7 years old – an age vulnerable to mental and physical health issues which stay with them for life. Dayspring serves these children and their families to provide a support network and give them back their independence.

I eventually got off the wash line, and Dayspring has been a constant in my life since. There are many reasons a family may be down on their luck, but I’m forever thankful there are people like those behind the scenes at Dayspring who are there to help. Being a part of that support environment for these families – even if it’s just working the kitchen line – has been wonderfully fulfilling.

StaciRiley Children’s Foundation

For the past few years, I have been heavily involved with the Riley Dance Marathon program. Dance Marathon is a movement benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds for pediatric hospitals across the nation.

Being in Indianapolis, I fund raise for the children at Riley Hospital for Children – hence the name “Riley.” The Riley Children’s Foundation is the fundraising arm of Riley Hospital for Children.

I have witnessed firsthand the incredible things that the doctors and staff at Riley are doing. Because of this, I choose to “dance” for those that can’t and I will continue to do so for as long as I live.

TaLeah – Techpoint Foundation for Youth

Growing up, if I wasn’t at school, you would probably find me out in the workshop with my grandpa. One of my earliest memories is of him teaching me how to make a small battery powered fan & motor. After that, I was hooked on tinkering and working with my hands. Though I may have a few pseudo-robotic projects collecting dust in my studio, those moments ultimately led me to art and down the path to graphic design. 

TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPF4Y) is seeking to encourage those same kind of moments and love for life-long learning. They’re a foundation that has been a leader in STEM education and programming since 2001. Their focus is on bringing these awesome, experiential learning events and STEM programs to under served students of Indiana. 

TPF4Y’s approach is interesting in the fact that they don’t only want to educate these kids in STEM for STEM’s sake. They’re equally motivated by elevating the secondary skills (problem solving, collaboration, and communication) that will be crucial for the students’ future in the workforce. 

What about you?  Where do you donate your time and money?  This holiday season if nothing comes to mind feel free to pick one of our favorites. Feel free to plug an organization you are passionate about below to help spread the word.