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Giving Tuesday: "Help us change the world"

This Giving Tuesday, David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation, sent the message below to the Foundation email list. To receive updates like this, you can sign up for our email list here. 

More than five years ago, some folks at the 92nd Street Y in New York had a good idea: to establish an annual holiday devoted to supporting causes.

They decided it should fall on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and they called it “Giving Tuesday.”

In the years since, it’s become a movement. The day raises hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts from generous people in nearly 100 countries. Partner organizations all around the world have added their voices to the cause.

And it all started with a good idea in the right place.

How do you turn more good ideas into reality? You increase the likelihood that those ideas land in capable hands. You build an inspired, able network of organizers ready to change the world. That’s exactly what President Obama and Mrs. Obama are trying to do with the Obama Foundation.

We launched this organization earlier this year as an experiment in 21st-century citizenship. And today, on Giving Tuesday, we’re asking if you’ll help us build it. When you do, you’ll be supporting leaders already making an impact in their communities, and those folks who want to become more involved but just don’t know where to start.

How are we putting your generous gifts to work? Just take a look at what we’ve done this year.

We hosted Training Days in communities from Chicago to Tempe to Boston, gathering together hundreds of young leaders ready to take the next step in making change in the places where they live. We taught them how to use their own stories to bring people together. Connected them with groups already doing good work in their communities. Coached them in the most effective ways to impact their local communities.

We launched a Fellowship program to provide a diverse set of community-minded rising stars with hands-on training, resources, and leadership development to help push their work forward. Throughout the program, each of our Fellows will pursue their own individualized plan to take their work to the next level. Along the way, they’ll participate in several multi-day gatherings, where they can collaborate with each other and connect with potential partners.

We hosted a two-day Summit in Chicago, bringing together hundreds of passionate and inspiring civic leaders from around the world to share ideas, learn from one another, and explore creative solutions to common problems. It was the kind of event where an education reformer from Appalachia might rub shoulders with a member of European Parliament and discuss how digital technology is reshaping our economy and our laws. I believe every single one of us walked away from those two days feeling as fired up as ever to take what we learned and put it to work.

This isn’t work that will be finished in a year, two years, or five years -- and that’s why the Obamas believe it’s the most worthwhile work we can be doing right now. It’s the kind of work that shapes a generation and can make permanent change in communities. That’s what we’re investing in for years to come.

Your gift today is an investment in your fellow citizens.

So today, please give whatever you can afford to help bring more good ideas to fruition, in communities all around this country -- and the world.

Thank you -- and Happy Giving Tuesday. Let’s go make more days like today possible.

With gratitude,


David Simas

CEO, Obama Foundation

Correction: An email sent on November 28 incorrectly attributed the founding organization of Giving Tuesday. This has been corrected to reflect the 92nd Street Y.