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Maryland nonprofits join 'Giving Tuesday' movement, solicit donations, volunteerism

A coalition of young people is searching for 614,000 pledges of time, money or acts of kindness as part of a local #GivingTuesday campaign to secure one charitable action in honor of every Baltimore resident.

The global fundraising movement has raised tens of millions of dollars locally and generated creative outpourings in Maryland since it was established in 2012, such as a dance crew posting step-by-step video tutorials on social media to raise money for after-school programs, a proceeds giveaway by a local coal-fired pizza shop and the adornment of the Edgar Allan Poe statue at the University of Baltimore in bright blue bows to broadcast every donation received.

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The goal of #GivingTuesday is to generate philanthropic contributions following the start of the holiday season after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Jeremy Rosendale is helping run the campaign — #WhatisyourpasHON — by the United Way of Central Maryland to round up enough commitments to represent each person who lives in the city. A dozen groups for young professionals are deploying their resources to find donors to give volunteer hours, money or other actions to whatever cause they are passionate about, whether it’s the United Way; Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, known as BARCs; Moveable Feast, a meals program for people with life-threatening illnesses; or any other charitable group.

“We wanted to harness that energy and passion of young professionals,” said Rosendale, director of the United Way’s young professionals Emerging Leaders United group. “So many inspiring things are happening, despite the negative news Baltimore has been garnering. Many of us love our city, our state and our region. Let’s bring together the hours, the dollars and the acts of kindness. It’s an audacious goal, and we're hoping it gets people to thinking broader: ‘I can do more. I should give more.’ ”

People in Baltimore age 40 and younger are particularly drawn to hands-on volunteerism that produces results they can see, Rosendale said. The pledges made to the campaign can be carried out over the next year.

More than $168 million was reportedly raised across the world on the last #GivingTuesday using telephone banks, email blitzes and Twitter campaigns. The totals have grown each year from the estimated $12 million raised in 2012. The concept was created by a New York City nonprofit, the 92nd Street Y, to counter the commercialism at the start of the holiday season.

Among the efforts in Baltimore was the “Bmore Gives More” campaign in 2013 that raised more than $5 million, a total that is believed to have grown each year since.

This year, the Franciscan Center will host Bank of America employees for a day of service. The workers will put together 1,000 bags of soap, toothpaste and other toiletries purchased by the bank for the men, women and children served by the center at 101 W. 23rd St.

The kits — which offer personal hygiene items important for their clients’ dignity but can be too expensive for the city’s poorest residents — will be distributed throughout the holiday season. As part of the #GivingTuesday effort, the center is challenging the community to donate another $4,500 through its website to match the Bank of America gift to purchase supplies for another 1,000 kits that can be given out in January and February.

“Toiletry items are something most of us take for granted,” said Meg Ducey, the center’s development and marketing director. “For somebody who is struggling to fill their belly every day, they can often be out of reach. Bank of America generously donated 1,000 kits, but we’ll go through them in a month, and the need continues throughout the winter.”

Organizations across Maryland will also be participating in a variety of ways, including an expungement clinic that will be held by Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Venable LLP for the clients of Helping Up Mission to scrub their public records of charges that block them from accessing jobs, housing and visitation with their children.

The Associated’s website links to gifts at various prices, from $100 to “foster a diverse, respectful Jewish community” to $1,000 for “life-long Jewish learning and experiences.” The Open Society Institute’s Baltimore office is looking to raise $60,000 to pay for one of their future fellows.

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