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Giving Tuesday Generates Record Number Of Charitable Donations

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then there's Giving Tuesday. It's been a thing since 2012.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And it was a really big thing this past Tuesday, raising $168 million. That's up 44 percent from last year.

CORNISH: On Giving Tuesday, people volunteer, raise awareness and donate money to organizations of their choice. They can go large and national.

SHAPIRO: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Planned Parenthood.

CORNISH: Or small and local.

SHAPIRO: The Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage, for instance, the Archdiocese of New Orleans or Donors Choose.

KATIE BISBEE: It was the most generous day in the history of our organization. So we had over 17,000 citizen donors donate to classroom projects, totaling $1.2 million. And that went to over 3,000 classroom projects across the U.S.

CORNISH: Katie Bisbee is the chief marketing officer at Donors Choose. It's a 16-year-old nonprofit based in New York that helps teachers raise money for school supplies or special projects. It's been part of the Giving Tuesday since it started.

BISBEE: The first year was pretty - it was pretty small. Everybody who heard of the idea loved it and instantly made a lot of sense to them, but it really wasn't until year two and year three that it started to grow.

SHAPIRO: And this year, that growth boomed. Bisbee says one reason - more foundations and companies are partnering with nonprofits. Another reason...

BISBEE: We just saw that people really cared about being in a positive movement that was larger than just themselves.

CORNISH: Bisbee says it's the political climate. People are more energized to stand up for causes they believe in, and Jonathan Greenblatt agrees. He's the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. They saw a 25 percent jump in donations this year.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT: I think the increased level of contributions on Giving Tuesday were reflective of this collective effort to fight hate. This moment calls for people coming together.

SHAPIRO: Not just coming together but making a statement. Greenblatt says hundreds of donations to the ADL were made in the name of none other than former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, one of President-elect Trump's senior advisers.

GREENBLATT: We've expressed some pretty strong concerns about Steve Bannon, who in his own words tried to position Breitbart as, quote, "the platform for the alt-right" - this term that I don't like very much, but this kind of invoke term to describe the new generation of white supremacists and anti-Semites and racists.

CORNISH: While skyrocketing donations are good, Greenblatt says organizations like his need to seize the moment and make sure people stay as engaged as they are right now. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.