Over 40 Local Nonprofits Flip the Script on Giving

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Tuesday, 09 November 2021
Over 40 Local Nonprofits Flip the Script on Giving

As holiday shopping season nears, a collaboration of over 40 Milwaukee-area nonprofits, including the Urban Ecology Center, are joining together to emphasize the importance of supporting our communities through an effort called Giving First on Tuesday, November 23rd.

The Giving First date flips the script by coming one week before Giving Tuesday, which traditionally falls after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber-Monday shopping and has been a day of giving for many nonprofits. Local nonprofits put the community first all year long and hope the community will put them first this giving season.

Giving First was successfully piloted by the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) in 2020. When other organizations asked if they could borrow the idea, a coordinated effort was born.

"When the UEC approached us about joining the Giving First campaign, we were thrilled-- this is what PEARLS is all about.” said Gerry Howze, Executive Director, PEARLS for Teen Girls. “We believe in the power of commUNITY. Now, it's more important than ever to support each other and give back-- cross collaboration like this will help elevate Milwaukee as a whole."

This year, Giving First has over 40 community-serving organizations conducting their fundraising campaigns on November 23rd instead of the traditional Giving Tuesday.

"Giving First is such a smart paradigm shift,” said Kelly Andrew, Chief Development & Marketing Officer at ACTS Housing. “We already know that Milwaukeeans are deeply generous and love their nonprofits. This is a chance for them to send their favorite non-profits into the busiest season with a boost, and go into their holiday season feeling great themselves."

The list of organizations participating in Giving First 2021 and quotes from several partner organizations are below. For up to date information on the collaborating organizations including direct links to donate visit givingfirstday.org.

40+ Milwaukee-area organizations participating in Giving First 2021:

- Acts Housing

- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee


- COA Youth and Family Centers

- Community Smiles Dental

- CORE El Centro

- Danceworks, Inc.

- Discovery World

- First Stage

- Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail

- Hillel Milwaukee

- Islands of Brilliance

- Jewish Museum Milwaukee

- Journey House

- Menomonee Valley Partners

- Meta House

- Milwaukee County Historical Society

- Milwaukee Parks Foundation

- Milwaukee Riverkeeper

- Milwaukee Water Commons

- Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC)

- Near West Side Partners

- Ozaukee Washington Land Trust

- Pathfinders

- PEARLS for Teen Girls

- Radio Milwaukee

- Riverwest Food Pantry

- Running Rebels

- Safe and Sound, Inc

- Sojourner

- Southside Organizing Committee/Center

- Teens Grow Greens

- United Community Center

- United Methodist Children’s Services of WI, Inc.

- Unity in Motion

- Urban Ecology Center


- Victory Garden Initiative

- Washington County Humane Society

- WAVE Educational Fund

- Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee

- Zeidler Group

More information and direct links to give to your preferred non-profit can be found at givingfirstday.org

Additional Quotes:

"Giving First is our chance to enter the holiday season with our values front and center. So, before the cooking, entertaining, and shopping, let's take this opportunity to put what really matters at the very top of our list."

- Jeri Bonavia, Executive Director, WAVE

“Giving is an expression for something we care about deeply. It connects us to something greater than ourselves, fulfilling our deepest need. Giving is not transactional, it is relational. Giving First is a generous act of investing in that which you believe in nurturing for the future of our community. Thank you for Giving First!"

- Julia Gray, Executive Director, Danceworks

“It has been incredible to see the seed of this idea spread so quickly into a powerful collaboration. Giving First encourages our community to approach the holiday season with abundance and generosity in a time when we are so often faced with fear and scarcity. We are thankful for the opportunity to connect more people in cities to nature and each other through these generous gifts.

- Ken Leinbach, Executive Director, Urban Ecology Center


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