‘We need all the support we can get’: DC-area nonprofits stress importance of Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is just 11 years old, but the tradition that encourages people to donate to charitable organizations large and small can have a big impact — especially in years when giving trends downward.

According to the Giving USA annual report on philanthropy issued in June of this year, total giving decreased in 2022, with individual donations down by 13.4% when adjusted for inflation.

Nonprofits such as Montgomery County’s Tree House Child Advocacy Center said Giving Tuesday is helpful, as they work to offer services at a time when those services may see more demand.

Dr. Evelyn Shukat, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of children who have been abused and neglected, told WTOP that many cases of abuse are referred through schools. She said child abuse has been underreported over the past few years due to the pandemic.

She added that since schools reopened, “we’re seeing more and more children and our resources are stretched … We need all the support we can get.”

At the Tree House, children may undergo initial medical and forensic exams and access trauma care.

“We serve any child who’s been abused or neglected,” Shukat said, explaining that means infants up to teenagers aged 18.

While the initial care may include just two visits, the therapeutic trauma care can last much longer.

“The mental health services that are specific for trauma-focused therapy can last up to six or seven months,” she said.

Donations of any amount can have a big impact, according to Shukat.

“Small donations can get a child a backpack that we’ll give out for school and help support an hour of therapy,” she said. “Everything from examining gowns to giving the child breakfast here if they come here hungry.”

Giving Tuesday falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and originated in 2012.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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