By Rachael Graf, Community Engagement Coordinator at Outer Banks Forever
Every year, millions of people around the world celebrate Giving Tuesday, a day of generosity following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, November 28.
The Giving Tuesday movement began in New York City 11 years ago when the 92nd Street Y joined hands with the United Nations Foundation to create a day of giving following Thanksgiving and the aforementioned shopping days. Since Giving Tuesday’s inception, billions of dollars have been raised for diverse charitable causes around the globe.
According to Giving Tuesday’s 2022 Impact Report, 35 million people in the United States participated in the day last year, collectively giving $3.1 billion in donations to causes they care about, in addition to giving goods, volunteering and engaging in advocacy.
“Community is at the heart of Giving Tuesday,” said Jessica Barnes, Director of Outer Banks Forever. “It’s a celebration of the power of people coming together to support causes that are close to their hearts and how giving back not only changes our lives, but also our world.”
Since its founding almost five years ago, Outer Banks Forever – the official nonprofit fundraising partner of the three Outer Banks national parks – has helped the Outer Banks Group of the National Park Service with needed park projects such as installing a live-feed webcam on top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, constructing the first designated mobility-friendly kayak launch on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, creating an Education/Demonstration Garden at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and providing new audio/video equipment for rangers at Wright Brothers National Memorial for virtual field trips, among other projects.
Most recently, Outer Banks Forever and the National Park Service broke ground for the new Cape Hatteras Lighthouse multiuse pathway, with construction slated to be completed by Memorial Day weekend of 2024. Outer Banks Forever is now assisting with fundraising efforts for accessible restroom and shower facilities at the Old Lighthouse Beach access at the end of the new pathway.
“We are so grateful for the support we have received for funding important and tangible projects like this that not only improve the overall quality of a park visitor’s experience, but also contribute to enhancing mobility and access, environmental sustainability and the economic growth of our area,” said Barnes.
Last year, Outer Banks Forever partnered with REAL Watersports and Carolina Brewery for their first-ever Giving Tuesday matching challenge. The two businesses committed to donating $10,000 ($5,000 each) to match the first $10,000 in donations made to Outer Banks Forever for the first phase of its “Pathways to Your National Parks” project – the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse multiuse pathway. In just 24 hours, Outer Banks Forever donors raised $14,500 in response to its “$10K Challenge for Cape Hatteras,” and with the $10,000 match from REAL Watersports and Carolina Brewery, that total grew to $24,500.
“Having a dollar-matching campaign in November certainly encouraged me to help with the project,” an anonymous Outer Banks Forever donor wrote in a feedback survey.
Like many Outer Banks nonprofits, Outer Banks Forever will celebrating Giving Tuesday again this year with another special fundraising challenge.
This Giving Tuesday, Outer Banks Forever is issuing a “$25K in 24 Hours” matching challenge to protect and enhance the three Outer Banks national parks for future generations of park lovers and stewards. REAL Watersports and Sysco Foods have committed $5,000 each for the matching campaign, and Atlantic Union Bank on Hatteras Island has committed $2,500, bringing the total matching funds to $12,500. These generous businesses have committed to match the first $12,500 in donations given to Outer Banks Forever, with a goal of raising $25,000 in 24 hours.
“Our parks receive a budget from Congress that covers basic operating expenses, but it often falls short of park and community needs. Philanthropy is what allows our parks to thrive,” said Barnes. “By participating in our ‘$25K in 24 Hours’ matching challenge, donors can help us provide our parks with resources that help make our Outer Banks national parks more accessible and sustainable for kids and youth for years to come.”
To learn more about Outer Banks Forever and its mission to protect and enhance the Outer Banks national parks, visit: https:/obxforever.org/2022/04/18/outer-banks-forever-faqs/.