Giving Tuesday Vibes in Dane County


“Show me the Money, Jerry!” 

Cuba Gooding, Jr. said it best in his famous line from the well-known 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire. 

Giving Tuesday, arguably one of the most famous national fundraising events, is certainly built on raising funds to help non-profits, but it’s also a day that shows the goodness of our communities (including here in Madison) and how we can help and support one another.

It’s an important piece to many organizations, who use it strategically in their development plans, in their community and awareness building, and to have fun while making a difference.

Hear from some local Madison non-profits (The River Food Pantry, Goodman Community Center and the Literacy Network) and their thoughts on Giving Tuesday 😊.

The River Food Pantry Giving Tuesday by Becca Carpenter, Communications Manager

What does The River Food Pantry do for Giving Tuesday?

For Giving Tuesday, The River coordinates an all-day fundraiser. Donors are invited to give online or drop off their donation in-person. Since we always have a pantry session on Tuesdays, we have volunteer opportunities throughout the day as well. 

What are you most proud of in your GT efforts at The River Food Pantry?

I’m most proud of how we find new ways to collaborate with other local organizations through our Giving Tuesday efforts. We had great success partnering with: 

Food for Thought Initiative: a volunteer organization that operates in-school food pantries in Madison public schools, as well as weekend food programs. Together, we raised over $100,000 to feed more children throughout Madison public schools and Dane County as a whole. 

Mentoring Positives: a mentoring program that provides paid internships for at-risk youth to make pizza. We surpassed our fundraising goal to purchase a year’s worth of pizzas handmade by Mentoring Positives to serve to food-insecure children through The River’s mobile lunch program, Munch.  

Your overall goal for GT? 

Our overall goal for Giving Tuesday is to raise money for a specific need that will nourish our community in many ways. Feeding our community while simultaneously supporting our partners is a win-win for us!

Favorite part about GT?

The energy! You can feel the gratitude flowing through The River. All day long, our development team is busy contacting donors to thank them for their gifts. It is so special to see so many people, including some of our volunteers, staff and even clients, share what they have to help feed our neighbors in need. 

Anything else you’d like to add about GT that’s really unique to the River Food Pantry?

Since we like to try new things, we’re so excited to kick off our “Giving MoosDay” this Giving Tuesday. The money raised will allow The River to purchase whole milk directly from local dairy farmers for our community. It’s going to be legen-dairy! 

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Caption: For Giving Tuesday in 2020, The River partnered with Mentoring Positives to make double the impact on local youth in need of income and delicious food throughout 2021. 


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Caption: For Giving Tuesday in 2019, The River teamed up with Food for Thought Initiative to raise more money to feed more kids. 

Literacy Network Giving Tuesday by Margaret Franchino, Development and Marketing Coordinator

What does the Literacy Network do for Giving Tuesday?
Over the years, we’ve primarily focused on online fundraising via social media, emails, and some videos. This year, our campaign is “24 hours of Giving‘Grati’Tuesday,” celebrating why learners, staff, volunteers, and other supporters are grateful for Literacy Network and adult literacy education. We are asking people to submit a photo of themselves answering the question “Why are you grateful for literacy and Literacy Network?” and then plan to post submissions, one per hour, on our social media on Giving Tuesday.

What are you most proud of in your GT efforts at the Literacy Network?
We are proud to have a community that always rallies behind our adult learners, supporting them in countless ways, including making sure Literacy Network has the resources needed to empower learners to reach their goals.

Your overall goal for GT?
Each year since we started celebrating GT in 2016, we’ve seen an increase in the number of community members involved in the day in some way, whether that be by donating or by engaging with our email updates. This year, we hope to continue that trend, raising awareness and support of Literacy Network as an organization. With our “Giving‘Grati’Tuesday” campaign, we’re specifically taking time to celebrate all that the learners at Literacy Network have accomplished and all that we have to be thankful for as an organization.

Favorite part about GT?
It’s amazing to watch the surge of community support for all the wonderful nonprofits in the Madison area and, actually, across the whole world. Especially in these challenging couple of years, it’s heartening to see people unite globally to celebrate and further the work of nonprofits making such a positive impact on people’s lives in countless ways.

Anything else you’d like to add about GT that’s really unique to the Literacy Network?
We’d love to hear from as many people as possible for our photo campaign this year! You can still send a photo of yourself holding a handwritten sign answering the question “Why are you grateful for literacy or Literacy Network?” to or text it to 608-268-6578.


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Caption: Literacy Network Executive Director Jeff Burkhart shares his message of gratitude.

Goodman Center Giving Tuesday by Amie Hoag, Director of Communications & Annual Giving

*Photo credit: Ilana Natasha

What does Goodman do for Giving Tuesday?
We approach Giving Tuesday a little differently because it always falls hot on the heels of our Thanksgiving fundraiser. We tend to do a softer ask – or no ask at all – since we just spent two months asking our donors for their support. This year, our development team has been spending a lot of time learning more about community centric fundraising. In that spirit, we’re planning to highlight some of our partner organizations on Giving Tuesday and encourage our donors to make a gift to those orgs. 

Here’s a link to the email we sent last year (with a Thank You theme, no ask):

What are you most proud of in your GT efforts at Goodman?
We take the opportunity to share impact and say thank you, and in a sea of asks, that feels really great. When COVID hit, and Giving Tuesday Now happened, we took people through an average day at Goodman as we worked to support our community through COVID. It gave our neighbors a chance to see just how much we were still doing. We didn’t attach a strong ask to these stories either. Because the work we do became even more needed during the pandemic (our food pantry saw a 300% increase in demand in those early weeks, for example), our community understood the need and had already stepped up to support us.

Check them out here:

Your overall goal for GT?
We aim to say thank you and share impact, and starting this year, shine a light on other organizations doing great work in our community.

Favorite part about GT?
I love that we get to let our stories shine without having to put a huge emphasis on fundraising. We’re in a really fortunate position to be able to do that.