If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t stop thinking about your holiday wishlist. Between awesome deals and swoon-worthy social media ads, it’s only natural to get swept up in the season of commercialism.
Giving Tuesday offers a counter to the endless online shopping, however. Dubbed “the biggest giving movement in the world” and occurring on Dec. 3 this year, Giving Tuesday celebrates generosity by encouraging people to donate to their favorite causes and nonprofits. Throughout the past seven years, the occasion has raised more than one billion dollars for tons of worthwhile causes. This year, support poetry and literacy by giving to some of our favorite organizations.
WriteGirl is a Los Angeles-based organization that pairs girls interested in writing with successful women writers as mentors. With discussions, workshops, and other literary events, the organization hopes to combat educational challenges in the L.A. area. So far, it’s working: High school seniors in the program have entered college at a rate of 100 percent, with many receiving full scholarships.
$25 provides three girls with all necessary workshop materials, including journals. Have more to give? $250 provides a workshop lunch to 50 girls, while $400 supports a two-day workshop presentation.
Books Through Bars
Books Through Bars uses the power of books and education to reintegrate prisoners into society. Each month, volunteers send an estimated 2,100 books to approximately 700 incarcerated people.
For $4, you can supply a prison with a dictionary, while $25 supplies a prison library with a full box of books. It’s also possible to donate your gently used books using this guide.
Split This Rock
Split This Rock celebrates the intersection of poetry and social justice. If you’ve heard of the amazing Louder Than a Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world, you have its sponsor, Split This Rock, to thank. The organization facilitates several other slam poetry projects and workshops for young people, in addition to supporting an annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest and an eco-poetry anthology. Split This Rock also strives to make poetry more accessible through its Poem of the Week series, which publishes and uplifts a “socially engaged” poem (you can sign up to receive it via email here).
Split This Rock encourages donors to honor a poet committed to activism with their gift. Donations between $1 and $99 will make you part of the Maxwell Cordyn Wheat Jr. Circle, commemorating a poet who had his Poet Laureate title revoked for writing poems against the Iraq War.
VIDA: Women in Literary Arts
Feminist organization VIDA has garnered praise from NPR, The New York Times, and Roxane Gay herself. VIDA tracks the gender parity in publishing, holding top-tier journals like Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review accountable with detailed, annual statistics.
All of that research—and their strong promotion of it—takes money. Your donation will ensure that women and nonbinary writers get their long-overdue recognition. Feel like donating your time instead? VIDA is currently searching for a variety of talented volunteers dedicated to its mission.
Get Lit aims to increase kids’ excitement towards and investment in school through poetry-based curriculum, incorporating both classic texts and spoken word performance. The program brings poets into the classroom to mentor students, as well as equips students to host and execute their own compelling poetry slam.
Give in a variety of tiers to receive updates from Get Lit, as well as fun perks like pins, stickers, and postcards.
Bonus: Giving Tuesday also offers the opportunity to think both locally and personally. Within your own community, consider donating to a scholarship fund for creative writing at a local university or at your alma mater. Your favorite poetry journals and small poetry presses could also benefit from your generosity—help cover the many costs associated with printing, website hosting, and more so that these makers and promoters of literature continue to thrive.