News and analysis
November 02, 2015

Gates Foundation Backs Giving Tuesday Storytelling Competition

Nonprofits can win grants up to $5,000 as part of a Giving Tuesday storytelling competition that kicked off Monday.

The Gates Foundation, in partnership with the organizers of Giving Tuesday, is calling on people across the country to write and share accounts of meaningful donations to nonprofits. The competition is taking place under the social media hashtag #MyGivingStory.

It is designed to "highlight the thousands of acts of generosity that may take place out of the public spotlight," according to a statement from Asha Curran, director of the Center for Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, a co-founder of Giving Tuesday.

Each participant is asked to write a short essay describing an instance when he or she supported a nonprofit in a way that proved memorable and meaningful. The essay must feature a single organization. Essays must be submitted by Nov. 24 on the Giving Tuesday Facebook page under the #MyGivingStory tab.

The 15 essays that receive the most "likes" on Facebook will advance for review by a panel of Giving Tuesday judges, who include Peter Koechley, the co-founder of Upworthy, and Perla Ni, the founder of GreatNonprofits.

Ultimately, there will be two winners each for first, second, and third places. In addition to grants of up to $5,000 for the groups featured in the winning essays, prizes include the promotion of the groups on Upworthy and gift cards for the essay authors to use for donations on the crowdfunding site GlobalGiving.

This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Dec. 1. Fundraising experts say they expect to see continued growth for the day of philanthropy, now in its fourth year.

The Gateses have championed Giving Tuesday nearly from the start. In 2013, they promoted four groups that they personally support. In 2014, they matched donations up to $200,000 to a United Nations Foundation campaign to vaccinate children.

"Any holiday tradition that gets people to give to causes they care about is one we’re happy to uphold year after year," said Bill and Melinda Gates in a letter encouraging donations to get vaccines to the world’s poorest children. "And that includes #GivingTuesday."

Send an email to Megan O’Neil.