A Brief History of GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday takes place this year on November 30th and promotes donations to nonprofits

Every year, people around the world participate in GivingTuesday, an initiative that declares the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a “global movement for generosity.” One of the biggest days of the year for nonprofit fundraising, GivingTuesday generates billions of dollars in donations to charitable causes.

In 2012, the Belfar Center for Innovation and Social in New York City created GivingTuesday as its official nonprofit organization. The premise was simple: GivingTuesday would create a day that celebrates radical generosity around the world. Since its inception, GivingTuesday activities have been tracked in almost every country around the world, and rallies nonprofits, businesses, schools and individuals to participate.

In 2020, more than $2 billion was donated to U.S. nonprofits by 35 million people — a 29% increase in donations compared to 2019.

“This groundswell of giving reaffirms that generosity is universal and powerful, and that it acts as an antidote to fear, division, and isolation,” said Asha Curran, co-founder and CEO of GivingTuesday.

This year, GivingTuesday aims to keep their momentum going by inviting more people to consider donating to their favorite nonprofit.

Three Nonprofit Organizations Robert F. Smith Supports

Robert F. Smith works across many areas with his philanthropic pursuits — from advocating for racial justice, to promoting equitable access to the great outdoors. Below are three initiatives supported by Smith:

Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has brought cutting-edge research to the field of cancer treatment for nearly 30 years. Their focus on prostate cancer has helped to foster major breakthroughs in early detection and successful treatment of prostate cancer. While prostate cancer may not be top of mind, it should be. The disease affects 1 in 8 men in the U.S. “Men of African descent are over 75% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with white men, and 2.2 times more likely to die from the disease,” according to data from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Robert F. Smith has supported the foundation in several ways. Through his financial support, Smith helped create a new early-detection genetics-based test in the form of the Smith Polygenic Risk Test for Prostate Cancer in 2018, and in 2020 Smith donated $2.5 million to create the Robert Frederick Smith Precision Oncology Center of Excellence in Chicago, located at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

Lincoln Hills Cares

Co-founded by Smith and entrepreneur Matthew Burkett, Lincoln Hills Cares is a Colorado-based nonprofit that focuses on empowering children from undeserving communities through outdoor education and recreation opportunities. The organization provides accessible outdoor experiences through culturally responsive programs and curriculum, including Youth and Family Outdoor Education, the Nizhoni Equestrian Experience, LHC Pathways and the TeamWorks Service Learning Program.


internX is an internship program launched by Fund II Foundation that matches highly-qualified minority students with paid internship opportunities at leading STEM companies that could potentially lead to a full-time job. Created in 2019, the program was born out of Smith’s own internship experience at Bell Labs when he was a teenager. To date, internX has matched more than 12,000 college students with internships.

Visit Fund II Foundation’s website to learn more about the organization’s  work supporting charitable organizations. This year, GivingTuesday takes place on November 30, 2021.