As the shopping blitz from Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday came to a halt, local organizations volunteered their time and helped raise money for local causes on what has been called Giving Tuesday.


In honor of the day of charity, the United Way of Grayson County held a fundraiser event Tuesday evening to raise money for local nonprofits and charitable causes. The event, called Growth in Action, brought together representatives from the United Way board, area chambers of commerce, the North Texas Young Professional and Denison Young Professionals organizations in a social media fundraising campaign.


“Giving Tuesday really is a global movement that supports charities,” UWGC Community Investment Director Stephanie Chandler said before Tuesday’s event. “It allows people to give back to our nonprofits and their communities in a new way.”


Giving Tuesday, often stylized using the hastag #GivingTuesday and promoted on social media, started in 2012 as an international movement aimed at creating a day of giving following the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush. The first day was promoted and organized by the United Nations Foundation.


This is the first year that the United Way of Grayson County has participated in Giving Tuesday.


For Tuesday’s fundraiser, the about 50 or so people in attendance were challenged to see how much money could be raised in just one hour by texting friends and family members and urging them to donate. UWGC President David Cortinas asked that every person text at least 5 people.


Chandler said the United Way wanted to raise at least $1,000, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matching any donations over that amount for the night. By 6:30 the organization had already passed its initial goal, with more than $1,100 raised.


Cortinas said Tuesday’s event comes during a difficult time for many nonprofits and many organizations look to make an impact in their communities using a limited pool of funds and resources. In the past, Cortinas said he could raise about $25,000 by visiting one local business. However, those days have since passed, he said.


“It takes more and more resources to get the job done, but how do you get those resources in such a competitive market,” he said.


Among those in attendance Tuesday was Grayson County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 Rita Noel, who serves as co-chairwoman of the current United Way fundraising campaign. Noel said she sent her request to several friends and family, including Grayson County Judge Bill Magers.


“You do have to take a little bit of money and give it to those in need,” she said, as she completed her donation on her cellphone. “I like giving, especially with the United Way because I know it will give it to a good cause.”


In addition to Tuesday’s fundraiser, Chandler said UWGC also helped coordinate several smaller groups who helped out at different nonprofits throughout the area. Among these groups were about eight representatives from Four Rivers Outreach in Sherman.


Four Rivers Executive Director Bob Rhoden, who was also in attendance Tuesday night, said seven members of the outreach’s substance abuse program went through a team-building exercise with the United Way and then went to fill emergency relief bags for the American Red Cross.


“Through the team building exercises, our guys learned about the ‘Power of U’ and what the United Way does,” he said, referring to one of the organization’s slogans.


In total, the small team filled about 250 relief bags, Rhoden said. Through these efforts, the volunteers wanted to give back to those who give to Four Rivers, and make the services they receive possible, Rhoden said.


Chandler said those who want to donate to the United Way can do so by texting UWGC to 313131 anytime.