'This is maybe the most important Giving Tuesday ever.' Metro Detroit nonprofits gear up for Giving Tuesday 2020

Posted at 2:47 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 10:28:08-05

Many nonprofits all around the world and right here at home in Michigan are feeling the brunt of the 2020 pandemic. With canceled fundraising events and limited volunteers, organizations that work to lift up our communities may need a bit of a lift themselves in order to keep doing their important work. And that's where Giving Tuesday and your support can help.


What started in 2012 as an idea to encourage people to do good, has flourished into a worldwide movement. Giving Tuesday marks a global celebration of generosity every year — and this year, it takes on extra meaning.

"It’s been an extremely challenging year, this is maybe the most important Giving Tuesday ever," said Gina Kell Spehn, co-founder of the New Day Foundation, a Michigan-based nonprofit that works to provide financial support to families fighting cancer.

Gina said New Day works with area hospitals and helps to alleviate the financial burden of cancer by paying critical living expenses on behalf of families.

"The primary goal is to keep them steady and on their feet while they’re going through cancer, so they have the best chance to fight the disease," she said.

New Day has also recently launched a grocery delivery program, where volunteers do the grocery shopping for families and deliver all the items to their doorstep, ensuring a contact-free experience. New Day also covers the cost of the groceries. Gina said much of the funding from year-end donations will go toward this popular program.

To give back or read more about the New Day Foundation, click here.

Forgotten Harvest is another local nonprofit that is working hard to help people in need — and with the pandemic, the demand to relieve hunger in metro Detroit has only increased.

“The donations coming in this year are paramount to the organization, because of COVID-19 . . . the number of food insecure people in Southeast Michigan really escalated,” said
Christopher Ivey, director of marketing and communications for Forgotten Harvest.

He said they have served more than 700,000 people since COVID-19 started to spread. In a typical year, he said that number is usually around 500,000.

From Giving Tuesday through Thursday, Meijer is matching donations to Forgotten Harvest on every dollar up to $20,000.

"Your gift will go twice as far," said Christopher.

To give back or read more about Forgotten Harvest, click here.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit is focusing their efforts on home repairs during the pandemic.

Stephanie Osterland, chief executive officer at Habitat for Humanity Detroit, said the organization is trying to "finish out this year strong for the families we're serving."

Because of COVID-19, volunteer limitations have put some larger efforts in construction and rehabilitation on hold, which is why Habitat Detroit is concentrating on home repairs and utilizing subcontractors for the work.

From major roof repairs to furnace repairs, Stephanie said this Giving Tuesday push will help create a safe and healthy environment for families in need. She said they have eight families on their active list, including five military veterans, and a long waiting list as well.

While they are accepting individual donations, they are also seeking contractor support.

To give back or read more about Habitat for Humanity Detroit, click here.

Back in July, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn launched their Reactivate The Henry Ford Fund to help with some of the financial challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Any donation received through the end of Giving Tuesday will be doubled by supporters of The Henry Ford.

"Now, as we face one of the most challenging times in our history, we need your help in securing our future," the campaign reads.

“It’s been a hard year for everyone, it’s never easy to give, but this year we know it’s probably harder for a lot of folks,” said Melissa Foster, senior manager of public relations for The Henry Ford.

She noted that the Reactivate campaign encourages support in other ways, too, not just through direct donations. It could mean visiting The Henry Ford or buying a membership to give as a gift for the holidays.

To give back or read more about The Henry Ford, click here.

Birth Detroit's mission is to midwife safe, quality, loving care through pregnancy, birth and beyond.

The nonprofit opened a Birth Detroit Care clinic in partnership with Brilliant Detroit on Prairie Street in the city in October to provide care and resources to birthing families in the area.

"This year has been so hard for so many, for so many reasons," said Leseliey Welch, co-founder and executive director of Birth Detroit. "We have seen the demand for community birth care increase and we are grateful that we were able to open our clinic in the pandemic."

Leseliey said this Giving Tuesday, Birth Detroit will be raising funds for the clinic, for virtual childbirth education and for planning for the city's first community birth center, which is expected to open in 2021.

There is a $25,000 match for donations made on Giving Tuesday and through the end of the week.

"Not all families have access to all safe birth options, we hope to change that in 2021," said Leseliey.

To give back or read more about Birth Detroit, click here.