By Katie Burrell
Giving Tuesday, a national annual project designed to help raise money for charities and local businesses the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, made its debut in San Marcos.
The San Marcos branch is run by a Texas State student involved with Austin Angels, a charity organization based in the capital responsible for connecting #GivingTuesday with multiple fundraisers throughout the day.
Austin Angels, places groups of volunteers with foster families. Each group spends time with its partnered family doing activities and offering support. Each month, a personal “love box” filled with gifts and supplies is compiled by volunteer groups for foster children and their foster families, Crow said.
The tradition was launched in 2012, according to a press release from Marian Salzman, CEO of Havas PR North America. Salzman’s company seeks to educate organizations about Giving Tuesday, teaching them how to garner donations for a cause.
This year, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State was among the primary local recipients of donations, collecting funds for the endowment that provides for the upkeep of its glass-bottom boats. The boats have existed since 1946 when a man named Paul Rogers began offering tours of Spring Lake in a homemade glass-bottom boat—destined to become the first of over three hundred boats the Meadows Center now owns and operates.
Typically, these boats are used to give 30-minute tours to more than 125,000 visitors annually. The boats also serve to educate students in the university’s environmental education program. The endowment used to fund the restoration and maintenance of the boats was created in 2007. Donors who offer $25,000 or more are given the opportunity to name a boat, or to have it named after them.
“We haven’t done Giving Tuesday before, so this was actually our first Giving Tuesday campaign,” said Anna Huff, Meadows Center community relations specialist.
Huff said the Meadows Center gained support for the event through social media and an email campaign. The total donation amount has not yet been tallied.
In an attempt to incentivize donations, donators were entered to win a piece of Kendra Scott jewelry. Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, the Austin Angels allowed donors an opportunity to win the Kendra Scott piece.
Sponsors of Austin Angels matched donations on Giving Tuesday, allowing the organization to double its hourly donation rate. According to the organization’s Facebook page, by Nov. 30, the group achieved $17,940 in donations—the ultimate goal being $24,000. It is not yet known if that goal was reached.
Kathleen Crow, communication studies senior and Austin Angels case manager, said all donations made throughout the year go toward supporting foster families. Giving Tuesday is the only day of the year where donations go toward running and maintaining the company. Austin Angels intends to put much of its donations toward hardworking foster mothers in need of new homes.