November 26, 2012 | By Bill Gates
Over the weekend, the annual holiday gift-shopping season here in the U.S got its traditional kick-off on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. Today is called Cyber Monday, as people return to their offices after the long Thanksgiving weekend, and take a bit of time to do some online shopping.
But there’s a new “day” in this post-Thanksgiving period I’m excited about: Giving Tuesday.
Over 1,000 charities, community organizations and businesses in the U.S. have banded together to promote this Tuesday as a day to give back, and to encourage people to give more, give smarter and celebrate the spirit of giving.
Giving has been an important part of American history since our earliest days and Americans are incredibly generous. Last year giving in the U.S. topped $300 billion, and 65 percent of Americans reported that they’d made some charitable contributions during the year. Those are impressive statistics, but with so much unmet need in the world, it’s clear there is ample room for people to do more.
Working with Melinda and Warren Buffett on the Giving Pledge over the last couple of years has been a fantastic experience, and has convinced me of the need to have lots of people having conversations about the impact and the satisfaction that can come from charitable giving – here in the U.S. and around the world.
So I wish the organizers well as they launch the first Giving Tuesday tomorrow. I hope lots of people will use the reminder to do something meaningful, and it becomes part of the rhythm of this holiday season. If the organizers of Giving Tuesday can get more of us thinking about giving - and encourage us to be more generous with our time and resources, they’ll have done a very good thing.