As a result, other interests have asked for their own special days. Cyber Monday is when after people spent the Thanksgiving weekend window shopping, they would go back to their high-speed Internet offices on Monday and go online to purchase their favorites. The event debuted on November 28, 2005. Now, almost everybody has high-speed Internet in their homes. We all shop online every day, not just at Christmas time. Like regular land-based shopkeepers, online companies offer sales and other incentives to buy at this time a year. Especially on Cyber Monday, which is the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
Green Monday, coined by eBay, refers to its best selling day of the season. It is similar to Cyber Monday, except that it usually happens the second Monday of December.
#Giving Tuesday was created when two nonprofit organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, joined forces in 2012, a month before the first scheduled #Giving Tuesday. Their intention was to set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, a great American tradition! That day is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it is supported by social media, volunteers, supporters and donors.
According to the Case Foundation, $117 million was raised in 2015 by nonprofits on #Giving Tuesday. It has become the international day of giving and philanthropy. The event began as a response to the excesses of commercialization and consumerism during the post Thanksgiving season.
It is a day that symbolizes giving in all its dimensions. One way is by recognizing that a volunteer's skills, knowledge, or labor can make a difference in the world. Just last week, volunteers helped VSA Texas make a big splash! At our VIP Cocktail Reception at the Seven apartment building last Tuesday, my fellow board members got to meet the volunteers. They enabled VSA to pull off a very successful appreciation reception. A shout out for Janelle Matous, our development director, for taking the lead.
The volunteers helped the staff set up the reception room, maintain the flow of sandwiches and wine, then clean up at the end of the night. They are National Honor Society students from the LBJ Liberal Arts Science Academy in Austin. We cannot thank them enough.
The night was focused on recognizing the artists, supporters and patrons of VSA Texas. To those who are unfamiliar with VSA Texas, we are a nonprofit state organization on disabilities and the arts. We have ongoing programs such as Opening Minds Opening Doors, which gives a diverse group of people the opportunity to do public speaking and storytelling. By diverse, I mean that participants are able to use medical devices such as crutches, braces, voice machines, and wheelchairs that make it possible to include people with disabilities.
We are also sponsors of a mixed-ability improvisational dance company called Body Shift, which is considered modern dance. Members of the company, just last week, worked on the Heidi Latsky Movement Installation with the world renown choreographer Heidi Latsky from New York.
VSA's diverse online gallery displays over 30 artists' works. One artist that particularly caught my eye is Deborah Evans-Lombe. Her work is stark and her technique quite accomplished. Before being diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, she had done graphic art work for the rock bands Genesis and ZZ Top, as well as The Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
If fused glass is your thing, Jordana Gerlach probably has something to your liking. After taking a class at Helio's Kiln Glass Studio through the Austin Museum of Art, Jordana immediately took to this exciting art form. See her work at grandglass.blogspot.com.
What else does VSA offer? Go to our website at vsatx.org for the full range of services and programs that are offered.
Another way you can support VSA is by supporting the artists. When you purchase art, every sale gives 70% to the artist and 30% to VSA Texas. On December 10, from 10 AM to 4 PM, there will be an artists' reception at the AGE building at 3707 Home Lane. The public will have a chance to mingle with the artists from 1 to 4 and, perhaps buy some art.
There are other ways to contribute on #Giving Tuesday besides volunteering and donating. Try collaborating with other businesses and organizations to contribute money, time, or services to a nonprofit.
And last but not least, activate your social media contacts to engage in a conversation about giving. It could be a blog, like this, or an email shared among friends.
Everybody has a little something to give that can make a difference. It's all relative. It's just as easy for somebody to give $1000 as it is for another to volunteer three hours of time. Whatever the case, keep in mind that this coming Tuesday is an International Day of Giving. #Giving Tuesday is an event that we can all rally around.