Following widely recognized shopping events such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday serves as a celebratory global day to kick off the giving season, when many choose to make holiday and end-of-year charitable gifts to their favorite organizations.

On Dec. 2, charities, businesses, families, community centers and students worldwide will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and give.

Founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has about 16,000 partners signed up so far, said Zain Habboo, senior director of digital strategies for the United Nations Foundation.

“We were able to create this global day of giving,” Habboo said. “It’s the third year now, and it’s grown beyond our expectations.”

#GivingTuesday was designed to bring together diverse networks of countries, corporations, people, small businesses and nonprofits to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness to make the world a better place.

“[After you] do your Christmas shopping, it’s time for #GivingTuesday to give back to your community and the less fortunate,” said Teresa Keenan, executive director for City House. “If you’re going out [shopping], it’s time to give back. If you’re going to Wal-Mart, why not get a gift card and donate it to your favorite charity?”

According to its website, #GivingTuesday brought together more than 2,500 organizations and people from all 50 states in 2012. Last year, the movement expanded significantly, bringing together more than 8,300 partners in all 50 states and another 10,000 partners in 43 countries.

“Last year we created the hashtag #unselfie as a way of telling the community if you don’t have a lot of time just take a selfie and use the [hashtag] and post and say why it’s important to give,” Habboo said. “It’s to get the world thinking about this idea of giving.”

More than 7,000 #unselfies have been posted on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to document how people were giving; #unselfie was tweeted 31,000 times in the 30 days leading up to and including #GivingTuesday last year.

“If it wasn’t for the donations of all of our supporters, [our children] would not have a Christmas,” Keenan said. “They are our future, and we are making a difference in their lives; they don’t have anyone else. They are homeless. You don’t have to give a lot – if 1,000 people give $10, [that’s $10,000]. No amount is too small.”

Keenan said donations to City House go directly to programs to support their children, be it for activities, professional counseling, medical needs, a warm place to sleep, a DART pass or food.

“I think people choose [to donate to] us because we help kids,” she said. “And if it’s not City House – there are people that have their favorite charities – whatever it is, give back.”

Habboo said technically donations can be made to any organization, but partners who officially sign up are able to use the #GivingTuesday logo to promote their cause on social media.

For information, visit

g forward and helping us. It’s sad that the need has grown so much, but the good thing is the community support has grown.”

Last year, Christmas Cops began partnering with ReCycles McKinney, a nonprofit that refurbishes bicycles and donates them to Collin County residents in need.

“What we do is take bikes and put new chains, brakes, pedals, grips, tires, tubes – anything that will wear out on a bike we can replace,” said Randy Hancock, founder of ReCycles McKinney. “If the bike is not repairable, we strip off the parts we can use and we sell the bike for scraps and use the money to help fund the organization.”

Last year, ReCycles McKinney donated about 75 bikes to Christmas Cops. The nonprofit has provided between 50 and 75 bikes to the program this year.

“We’re avid cyclists, so we like to give back and make sure people are still riding bicycles,” Hancock said. “It’s definitely giving back to the community, something we feel is our civic duty. There are a lot of [organizations] that do this, but we’re all from Collin County. Our tagline is ‘local donation for local need.’”

Hancock encourages recipients of new bikes to donate their old bicycles to ReCycles McKinney to be refurbished and given to people in need.

For more information, visit To learn more about ReCycles McKinney, visit

For continued coverage, follow Brittany Feagans on Twitter.

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