It’s so easy to treat Thanksgiving like an extension of Christmas and forget its altruistic foundation. I’m guilty of it myself. With the holiday shopping ads airing earlier every year, stores are making it easier to spend your November looking for deals rather than giving back to your community. Certain businesses are bucking the Black Friday trend—REI just announced that its stores and website will be closed for business that day, asking customers to spend time outside instead.
If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate the holidays, GiveMN sponsors Give to the Max Day on November 12, with opportunities to donate or volunteer at multiple charity events, or online any time you’re able. Last year, nearly 63,000 Minnesotans gave a record-breaking $18.3 million. Let’s all pledge to give back this year! Here are some GTMD events to help you get started.
HUGE Improvathon at HUGE Improv Theater: Beginning Wednesday night at 8 p.m. and ending Thursday at 11:59 p.m., this 28-hour marathon improv show raises money for HUGE, the Minneapolis theater and local improv hub. More than 120 local improvisers will lead audiences through 28 hours of improvised theater. Come watch a show or two, flex your improv muscles and perform, or even stay a full 24 hours to support the hardworking performers and earn some bragging rights. For more information about the event, check out hugetheater.com. (3037 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, givemn.org)
Sweat to the Max at Union CrossFit Gyms: Looking for further incentive to get in your workout? Spare Key, a nonprofit that helps families with seriously ill or critically injured children, invites you to help them reach their goal of completing 100,000 burpees in 12 hours. Participants are expected to pledge $1 for every burpee they complete, so depending on your pain tolerance you can donate as much or as little as you want. Stop in at any Union CrossFit Gym between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to do your part and burn some calories along the way. (470 Cleveland Ave., N., St. Paul; 1313 Chestnut Ave., Minneapolis; 7319 Lake St. W., St. Louis Park, givemn.org)
Open House at Twin Cities Ballet and Fall Season Preview at Zenon Dance Company: Whether you’re a fan of the arts or a dancer yourself, GTMD has opportunities to immerse yourself in the local dance community. In Lakeville, Twin Cities Ballet and Ballet Royale invite local dancers to get moving with free classes. They will also host a reception event where you can learn how to donate to TCB. In Minneapolis, local modern dance company Zenon invites donors to see two world premiere performances, and iconic jazz work “Ezekiel’s Wheel” at Zenon’s dress rehearsal. Must donate before entry. (10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. at TCB, 16368 Kenrick Ave., Lakeville, givemn.org; 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. at The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, givemn.org)
Spirit of Service & Giving Day at Helping Paws and “Spay-ghetti Dinner” at Prairie’s Edge Humane Society: Support local animal shelters and training centers at these benefit events. Helping Paws, an assistance dog training school in Hopkins, invites donors to an open house event where they can meet and greet with trainers, service dogs, training school graduates, and puppies in training. Davanni’s will cater the event. Later, Prairie’s Edge Humane Society in Northfield will sponsor a “Spay-ghetti” dinner—the proceeds will help them continue to care for adoptable animals. Guest will also have the opportunity to donate online at the dinner. (11 a.m.-1 p.m., 4 p.m.-8 p.m. at Helping Paws, 630 12th Ave. S., Hopkins, givemn.org; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at Northfield Eagles Club, 304 S. Water St., Northfield, givemn.org)
For a full list of 2015 events, visit givemn.org. If you cannot attend an event, monetary donations can be made online now through November 12. Search for a cause here.