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Bmore Gives More on Giving Tuesday [Commentary]

Baltimore is a city of idiosyncrasies, personalities and a heaping dose of serious pride. We are a little suspicious of anything too showy or pretentious and celebrate the workman-like achievements of our leaders and icons. We're always ready to defend our beloved city's honor and point out that "we're so much more than The Wire."

And we are, hon. We are passionate and compassionate. We're doers and donors who work in thousands of small ways every day to make the Baltimore a better place for our families and for our neighbors' families. We have a big opportunity on Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) — Dec. 3 — to roll up our sleeves and make a huge statement to the country about who we really are: the most generous city in America.

Giving Tuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was started last year by New York's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.

When we at GiveCorps, which provides fundraising software and expertise to nonprofits, learned about the inaugural Giving Tuesday campaign last year, we were motivated by its vision to generate as much passion for giving during the holiday season as there is for shopping.

In 2012, GiveCorps channeled the energy of Giving Tuesday into the biggest day ever for nonprofits raising funds on our site. And we were not alone. Across Baltimore, organizations launched Giving Tuesday campaigns. In fact, our colleagues at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore led the country as the biggest Giving Tuesday fundraiser, raising $1 million.

Our mission at GiveCorps is to build an army of givers to power their communities. So this past summer, as the second annual Giving Tuesday effort was on the horizon, our team thought about what we as a city, not just as individual organizations, could accomplish if we all banded together on this one day. We imagined the impact that a collective show of strength could have on Baltimore. We envisioned a giving day where small, lean organizations could amplify their giving under the halo of a city-wide campaign.

This idea of joining forces for Baltimore really motivated our team, and while summer vacations and weekend barbecues were still the focus of many, we were setting up meetings and forming a coalition of key stakeholders — including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, large nonprofits, colleges and universities and major corporate citizens — to secure participation in the yet-to-be-named, city-wide Giving Tuesday initiative in December.

From this passionate coalition, "Bmore Gives More" was conceived. It's a groundbreaking campaign to be the most generous city in America on Giving Tuesday.

Bmore Gives More has made a splash for Baltimore on the national Giving Tuesday stage. Now, we need to make this big vision a reality. And it isn't very hard to get there. Give $5, $15, $50 or $500 — whatever you can — to your favorite charity, and we'll do it.

While our primary goal is monetary, we believe that success is about so much more than dollars. Our Bmore Gives More campaign is also an organized day of volunteering, creative community initiatives and celebration. For example, a local ice cream maker and granola company are teaming up to create a Bmore Gives More flavor. A local CrossFit gym is offering a special workout. And Constellation Energy is sponsoring a day of volunteering for its employees.

These efforts are a huge part of building hometown excitement for the day. Because, while this national effort offers a platform to raise awareness of the importance of giving back to our communities, it's really a means to celebrate what happens in Charm City every day, in a big way.

Like they say in the military: We Need You. Give, volunteer, take a casserole to a neighbor... whatever you can do to contribute on that day. Show your pride in being part of Baltimore's army of givers on Tuesday, and show the country what it really means to be a proud Baltimorean. Join us.

You can find your inspiration at bmoregivesmore.com.

Jamie McDonald is the president and founder of GiveCorps. Her email is jamie@givecorps.com.

To respond to this commentary, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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