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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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It's Cyber Monday. Next Up. #GivingTuesday

Nov. 27 will be the first "#GivingTuesday" commemoration.
Nov. 27 will be the first "#GivingTuesday" commemoration.
November 26, 2012

CHICAGO - The idea for "Hashtag Giving Tuesday" grew out of the simple observation that we have a day for giving thanks and two days for getting bargains - Black Friday and Cyber Monday - so why not a day for giving back? Using social media like Twitter, organizers have set tomorrow as the first "Hashtag Giving Tuesday." They're asking people to donate money, services or volunteer time to charities. One of the first groups to partner up was the UN Foundation, where vice president Aaron Sherinian is part of the public relations effort.

"This is a country of generous people. so generosity is in our hearts: why shouldn't it be on the calendar?"

Hashtag Giving Tuesday's organizers say many groups have joined up to promote the concept. Having seen Black Friday take hold over a period spanning a generation or more and then Cyber Monday take off swiftly in the Internet age, they're expecting social media to make Hashtag Giving Tuesday a virtual overnight success.

Aaron Sherinian says what organizers call a "team of influencers" is already Tweeting away about #Giving Tuesday.

"We give really well. We mobilize very well. So let's use a social media reality and let's help make sure it's on the minds and the tongues - and probably more importantly, in the Tweets and on the keyboards - of everyone we know."

Sherinian says you can look at it as "opening day" for the giving season.

"We've already got over a thousand organizations that have signed up to be part of this movement, saying, 'I already know that this is a part of what my constituencies and my communities want to do.' Let's make a statement about giving, and give 'giving' its opening day."

According to Giving USA, Americans donated $298 billion in 2011. The impact of the recession has dropped that amount from a peak of $310 billion in 2007.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL