Published by Reuters
on January 12, 2011

by Josie Raymond

A Stony Brook, NY couple calling themselves Giver Girl and Giver Boy have made a big New Year’s resolution. How big? Think $2,704 big. Of course, that dollar amount isn’t the resolution, but rather the result of their pledge to increase their charitable giving. They’ve decided to give $52 to a different charity every single week in 2011.

Giver Girl, a writer who wants to remain anonymous so as not to distract from the causes she and her husband will support, told Tonic that she was inspired by Resolution11, a new website that challenges people to make public resolutions to do good in the new year.

She recently started a blog where people can follow her family’s journey, learn which charities they support each Friday and read the personal stories behind the donations.

Recently Giver Girl wrote about the fortuitous donation request she got in the mail in December. The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission in Philadelphia was asking donors to consider providing 26 meals by giving, get this, $52.52. Giver Girl was more than happy to write a check as “a warm-up gift,” especially because her own father has long struggled with mental illness and homelessness.

In future months, she anticipates funding other causes close to her heart, including suicide prevention, foster care programs and more, as well as groups that grab her heart along the way. “The world’s not going to stop having problems. I‘m going to let causes move me throughout the year,” she says.

As for the dollar amount, Giver Girl says it’s more than a gimmick. It’s enough money that she and her husband, a teacher and coach, will feel it, but not enough that it will hamper the lifestyle they lead with their three young kids. “It’ll be a stretch, it’ll be a little bit uncomfortable,” she says. “But it’s just the right amount. There’s a lot we spend money on that we don’t need to. It will challenge us to think more carefully about frivolous purchases.”

In the past, she said, she would spend $50 on something for herself without blinking an eye. “I don’t want to be looking at $50 that way,” she says. “I can remember when $50 was a huge sum to me. To people who need it, that’s a huge amount of money.” She recognizes that small changes in her life can amount to large changes in the life of someone else. To her, the donation means getting rid of cable. To her 9-year-old son, it’s the price of a video game.

They’ll give their first donation this Friday, Jan. 7. Giver Girl and Giver Boy encourage people to join them in giving weekly, whether it’s $52, $5.20 or some other amount, whether it’s to the charities they support or others.

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