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Nonprofits look to Giving Tuesday

  • Swansea Benham Bleicher leads circle time at the Northampton Parents Center Director, one of the organizations seeking donations this Giving Tuesday. Contributed photo

  • Tara Bernier, left, office manager for The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, in Northampton, and program coordinator Miranda Groux prepare for a talk by journalist Amy Goodman at John M. Greene Hall on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The organization is among local nonprofits seeking donations this Giving Tuesday. 

Staff Writer
Published: 12/1/2019 9:43:00 PM

NORTHAMPTON — As the holiday shopping craze grips the country, local nonprofits are appealing to the community to take a moment to give back this Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday, an international initiative, was launched in 2012 as “a day that encourages people to do good,” particularly through giving back to their communities. A number of local nonprofits are participating, with some highlighting the day as one of the most important fundraising opportunities of the year.

“The impact is huge,” said Swansea Benham Bleicher, director of the Northampton Parents Center, “because we have to raise funds to be able to stay open for all of the families to come for free.

“It’s very important to our mission that everyone can come no matter what their ability to pay is, so we really rely on this to meet our budget,” she said. The center must raise “tens of thousands of dollars” each year to maintain its services, she said, adding that it has a particular need this year due to cuts to its state grant funding.

The center, at Edwards Church on Main Street, has functioned for more than three decades as a drop-in center where parents can bring their children to play and learn, as well as socialize with fellow parents.

The center raised a little less than $8,000 last Giving Tuesday, and has set a goal of reaching that amount this year.

Most Giving Tuesday donations come from individuals, Benham Bleicher said, although Northampton Area Pediatrics has committed to a $3,000 matching grant, which will double each dollar donated.

Jeff Napolitano, executive director of The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, also emphasized the importance of Giving Tuesday.

“In the past it certainly has been one of, if not the single biggest day of contributions,” Napolitano said, “so it’s at this point an invaluable day to support the work that we’re doing.”

The Resistance Center is a Northampton-based social justice group dedicated to causes such as migrant justice, nuclear abolition and anti-militarism.

“Social justice work is not a major revenue-getter in the world, as you’d imagine,” Napolitano said, “and the contributions, even if they’re small, add up to something that is sizable for us.”

The Resistance Center has raised between $2,500 and $6,000 on past Giving Tuesdays, Napolitano said.

Benham Bleicher and Napolitano both emphasized Giving Tuesday as an event with communitywide impacts among small nonprofit organizations.

“Nonprofits don’t have marketing departments like large corporations do,” Napolitano said, “so mechanisms and traditions like Giving Tuesday are a way for the community to support organizations that otherwise don’t have a massive advertising presence. This is a way to recognize small groups of people who are doing good work.”

It’s also an important appeal to charity during a time focused on consumerism, Benham Bleicher said, referencing occasions such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

“It’s all focused on purchasing and consumerism,” she said, “so with Giving Tuesday, the idea is to give back — to give to the nonprofits that are providing so much benefit to our communities in so many ways.”

Napolitano agreed.

“It’s a good thing, at least for nonprofits like us, that there is this tradition that’s been established … as a day dedicated to giving, rather than shopping,” he said.

A full list of participating nonprofits is available at

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at

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