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How hospitals are helping patients this 'Giving Tuesday'

December 2, 2014

    Clare Rizer, The Daily Briefing

    Fresh off the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, today's "Giving Tuesday" is the philanthropic community's response to holiday consumerism, dedicated to charitable giving to hospitals and other not-for-profit organizations.

    The 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association in New York City and the United Nations Foundation created the holiday to launch the winter charity season. More than 18,000 not-for-profit organizations have signed up as partners for 2014—surpassing last year's 10,000 participants and the 2,500 participants in 2012, the holiday's inaugural year. Last year's Giving Tuesday raised nearly $19.2 million in donations, a 90% increase from 2012.

    Some of this year's participating organizations include Chicago's Advocate Children's Hospital, Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center, and WellSpan Health.

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    At WellSpan Health, officials are asking local residents for donations to help cover the expenses of patients undergoing cancer treatment or children who lack access to basic health care services. On its website, WellSpan lists various examples of how donations may be used. For instance, $25 will buy a gas gift card for a cancer patient to travel to and from treatments, while $50 will provide families of cancer patients with a grocery store gift card.

    Meanwhile, donations to Advocate Children's will go to help support the hospital's Child Life programs, which address the special needs of hospitalized children and teenagers. Such programs include art and music therapy, and aquatic relief therapy, which uses mobile fish tanks to provide a sense of calm to patients.

    But monetary donations are not the only way consumers can choose to give back this Tuesday. For instance, the New York Blood Center will encourage individuals to donate blood throughout the day, while the 92nd Street Y will hold a knitting drive to make scarves and hats for pediatric cancer patients. 

    And this year, crowdfunding website Crowdrise—which was co-founded by actor Edward Norton—has developed an app that allows participants to see the amount of giving going on throughout the day. Each donation will be represented by a brick featuring a photo of the donor and recipient. Eventually, it will become a "tower of giving."

    "Our whole goal is to make this fun and interesting and notable, and also really try to figure out a way to take this movement, which lives all over the Internet, and find a place where everyone can sort of rally together," co-founder Robert Wolfe says of the app.

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