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Opinion >  Column

Rob Curley: Open hearts, wallets – it’s our kind of day

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 3, 2019

Spokesman Review Building , Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokesman Review Building , Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

So many days in a row with nicknames: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Robbi’s Tired Sunday and Cyber Monday.

Then there’s today: Giving Tuesday. It might be the one that impacts a community the most. And for the longest. These are the kinds of presents that keep on giving.

Giving Tuesday has grown each year since it started in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and the United Nations Foundation. Since that time, more than $1 billion has been donated online on this day. Last year, more than $400 million was raised, with the average gift being just about $100.

The amount doesn’t matter. Even $10 can help. The important part is realizing just how much even a little can matter.

So, what do you love? What do you wish you could change? What inspires you? Now think about the different kinds of organizations that work on those very things in our community. Then give to them. Today.

Meals on Wheels. Blessings Under The Bridge. Second Harvest. Christ Kitchen.

Shriner Hospitals for Children. Ronald McDonald House. American Childhood Cancer Organization. Hutton Settlement.

The Spokane Humane Society. SCRAPS. The ASPCA.

What about your alma mater? Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Whitworth or Washington State? Or how big of an impact could you have on someone’s life by donating to the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation?

Or maybe the United Way or the Salvation Army? Or what about giving to our local Christmas Fund?

Maybe you love the local arts scene. The Spokane Symphony. Spokane Civic Theatre. Terrain.

Doesn’t matter. Just give to them today. For many organizations, there are matching donations for what they receive today. Many local companies even match donations made by employees today. All the more reason to do it.

Still don’t know who should get your donation?

Most local nonprofits get some sort of assistance – from financial to technical to marketing – from the locally based and focused Innovia Foundation. And giving to Innovia can help thousands and thousands in our region by assisting hundreds and hundreds of local organizations and nonprofits.

This year, as an added benefit for Innovia’s nonprofit partners who actively participate in promoting #GivingTuesday2019 on social media, the foundation has mobilized a group of partners to seed a $7,000 pooled fund that will be awarded in unrestricted $1,000 grants to qualifying nonprofits. Innovia will be randomly selecting seven local organizations from the pool of 110 nonprofits that have registered as a “Giving Tuesday” participant and have fulfilled the eligibility requirements.

Even local journalism has benefited from Innovia and other local organizations’ charitable giving. That’s another column for another day, but the retail apocalypse and all of the local advertising those long-gone stores no longer purchase has destroyed nearly all of the biggest newsrooms in communities across the nation. Those newsrooms once told the stories of their communities, writing the first draft of local history, as famed newspaper publisher Phil Graham noted.

Many of those newsrooms aren’t just smaller, they’re simply gone.

Over the last few years, The Spokesman-Review’s newsroom has worked hard to re-engage with our neighbors. Slowly, our readers began to fund positions that, in essence, were owned by the community itself, not the newspaper. Then last year, our newspaper was announced as a Report For America grant recipient, creating a new rural health care reporter position. The catch was only half of the costs were covered by Report For America; the award stipulated our local community had to fund a quarter of the position with the newspaper funding the rest.

At the time, Report For America officials commented that only one other funded news organization across the entire nation got its paperwork and local funding in order so quickly … and that was National Public Radio.

On the eve of some our nation’s most-important elections, we decided to apply for more Report For America-funded positions. In Monday’s paper, it was announced – thanks to Report For America – that The Spokesman-Review is about to become one of the smallest news organizations in the nation, and the only newspaper in both Washington and Idaho, to have a dedicated reporter in Washington, D.C., to cover national stories through the eyes of this region.

We were thrilled. And we knew how much our readers were going to love this incredibly local look at the Beltway and more meaningful coverage of our delegates.

Imagine our surprise when we realized Report For America also decided to fund our request to add another full-time reporter in Olympia to cover statewide issues in even more depth for the communities we serve, as well as to fund our rural health reporter for a second year.

This is journalism that matters. Now more than ever.

Yes, we now have to find the mandated local funding portions for all of these positions. We’re also not worried.

Giving is what Spokane does so well. This may not be one of the most affluent places in the country or even in our state, but this community does know how to take care of its own.

That’s why “Giving Tuesday” feels so good here.

But that “Robbi’s Tired Sunday” is gaining some traction. At least in my household. OK, really only with me.

Either way, please join me in supporting one of our community’s charities today.

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