Bet you didn’t know that today is Georgia Gives Day. That’s OK; it’s new.

Dec. 6 has been declared Georgia’s first-ever statewide day of giving by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. It will now become an annual event, encouraging Georgians to give back to their communities.

Its goal is to increase giving to, and awareness of, the state’s nonprofit sector, says Karen Beavor, CEO and president of the GCN. Of the 40,749 nonprofits registered in the state, more than 1,000 have taking part in this year’s inaugural event. They range from 100 Black Men of DeKalb County and the Gateway Center, which fights homelessness, to A Child’s Voice advocacy center, 7 Stages theater company and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

A live ticker on the Georgia Gives Day website shows an up-to-the-minute donation total; as of noon Wednesday, $316,071 had been raised.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • Dec. 6 is the official date, but the site can be accessed year-round.
  • Nonprofit organizations can be researched through the website based on their area of impact or by their geographic area.
  • All donations are tax-deductible, and all participating nonprofits are 501(c)3 organizations.
  • 100 percent of donations go directly to participating nonprofits.
  • Contributions can be dedicated to anyone or anything you’d like. Recent donations and comments, as well as a current total of funds raised, are all displayed on the initiative’s home page.

Of course, charitable giving during the holiday season is not a new idea, but this newest giving holiday is remarkable in a few ways:

The statewide-day-of-giving concept is part of a national trend intended to empower individuals to have a greater and more focused impact on the causes and communities they support. Several states have had similar events over the years. Minnesota’s Give to the Max, for example, which began in 2009, earned $13.4 million in 2012.

Georgia Gives Day information can be accessed by computer, smartphone and tablet. It has Facebook and Twitter accounts and a YouTube channel.

Finally, the event’s comprehensive and collaborative nature means that while your donations directly benefit the organization you choose, you’re also making the entire nonprofit sector in Georgia stronger. Says Beavor, “It all adds up to greater impact on the issues that support and enrich our lives and make our local communities thrive.”

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

View all posts by Kathy Janich