We have all heard of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday. A few years ago, a new event was added to our list: Giving Tuesday, which is reserved for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day to encourage people to do good and give back to charities.
Humboldt County has a strong sense of community and a long tradition of supporting local businesses, artists and nonprofits. Historically, our unique location behind the Redwood Curtain has required that we become creative and self-reliant, and our region's farmers, local artists, small business owners and nonprofit organizations are the fruit of this Humboldt spirit.
However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen unprecedented social and economic impacts in our community. Many people are now working from home semi-permanently, community events have been canceled, people are shopping online instead of downtown and local businesses are closing their doors. As a community, we need to make a conscious effort to support what we value. If we value our local farmers, artists and small businesses, we need to invest in them by supporting them financially.
Equally important is supporting our nonprofit sector — the organizations that provide an opportunity for people to work together for the common good to strengthen the fabric of our communities. Nonprofits foster civic engagement, provide goods and services to the needy, protect the environment, support traditional cultures, drive economic growth and provide an avenue to transform our highest ideals and noblest causes into reality. But the pandemic has had a major effect on this segment of our economy. During times of crisis, many nonprofits have become even more critical in providing these types of services while, at the same time, funding streams to support activities have become even more stressed, now facing increasing competition for a shrinking pool of funds from an even smaller pool of willing donors.
There are hundreds of local nonprofits on the North Coast that fulfill their mission to provide key services benefitting our communities, but we often do not realize they are there until we need their help. A few of the services our local nonprofits offer to our community include feeding the homeless, connecting advocates with foster children, delivering free spay and neutering services, educating people about traditional foodways, protecting wild places from industrial logging and herbicide spraying, providing grief counseling, hospice care, subsidized childcare and so much more. Many assume that large grants cover most of these activities but the truth is that a significant portion of their income comes from individual donations from people like you. Most nonprofits are a labor of love; they operate on shoestring budgets and their staffs must multitask, sometimes carrying out essential program tasks while simultaneously fundraising, accounting and doing their own outreach.
Our unique location on the Lost Coast means we have fewer connections with the outside world and larger organizations do not provide services to our area. Over the past couple of years, the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for individuals, leaving people feeling more isolated and alone, and now more than ever, we value the benefits of being involved with our community and the importance of working together to create a groundswell of support for the nonprofits providing essential services to our area.
This Giving Tuesday, give back to those organizations that make the North Coast special. As we enter the holiday giving season, I am asking you to think of the local organizations that provide benefits that serve you or your interests and make charitable donations to support their work on this upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 30.