#GivingTuesdayCLE takes the competition out of charitable giving

Last year, Pam Turos of Wish Cleveland ran the group’s first-ever Giving Tuesday campaign, raising more than $13,000 for 36 nonprofits citywide. This year, the online campaign is back and more ambitious than ever.

The group recently launched a website, Do Good CLE, and has selected 15 nonprofits to benefit from donations. In addition, any nonprofit can set up a donation page on the site for free. Groups can also sell “Do Good” hats made by Cosmic Bobbins’ Cleveland Sews program, and Wish Cleveland is hosting a “Good Hat” bash Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Beachland Ballroom.

#GivingTuesdayCLE 2018Shortly after last year’s event, Turos’ efforts caught the attention of the Giving Tuesday organization. In May, she was invited to Giving Tuesday's community leader summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was wowed by the leaders she met.

“I decided that I would wait until after the summit to decide if I was going to do it again,” she says. “Of course, you go to something like that and you get inspired by all the cool things they’re doing.”

The idea behind Wish Cleveland’s Giving Tuesday campaign was simple. Turos saw how nonprofits in other cities were working together to raise funds and asked herself, why not Cleveland?

“When a volunteer asked me, ‘What’s your big dream for Wish Cleveland?’ I said writing stories is good and brings attention, but I would love to bring the community together in a way that’s meaningful,” says Turos. “The nonprofit community is so competitive, and they’re all fighting for the same resources. I just don’t believe in that. There’s enough for everyone, and if we work together, it can benefit us all.”

As a mother with three children, she also wanted to help teach her children that the holiday season is about more than getting presents–it’s about giving back, too.

The “Do Good” hats, which are for sale online and at locations around town, are new this year. Cosmic Bobbins’ Cleveland Sews program gives work opportunities for people with barriers to employment, such as immigrants.

Wish Cleveland’s Giving Tuesday campaign kicks off on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 78th Street Studios. Their goal this year is to raise $16,000, or $1,000 for each of the core nonprofits plus Wish Cleveland. The “Good Hat” Bash will feature a nonprofit expo and a performance by Refresh Collective, but the main purpose is just to have fun.

"There's a little bit of giving back at the event, but mostly we're just there to have fun and celebrate what we've done as a community," says Turos.

Read more articles by Lee Chilcote.

Lee Chilcote is the author of the poetry chapbooks The Shape of Home and How to Live in Ruins. His writing has been published by Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt and many literary journals as well as in The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, The Cleveland Anthology and A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. He is a founder and former executive director of Literary Cleveland. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his family.
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