May 05, 2020

Together, we give

By the Right Honourable David Johnston, 28th Governor General of Canada and Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation

We are facing a rare set of circumstances as a global community. Together, across borders, oceans and time zones, we are fighting a common battle. We are living a shared experience. And yet, connection feels more elusive than ever. We are social creatures, by nature, and the measures we are taking to ensure our survival come at the cost of our most treasured means of bonding. As Canadians, we feel this loss of connection and intimacy deeply. We are a nation of helpers, carers and neighbours. So how can we find the comfort and satisfaction that comes from that familiar feeling of engagement? The answer is, most certainly, to give.

This Tuesday, May 5, an invitation is going out across the globe with that very simple ask in mind. GivingTuesdayNow is an international movement taking place in more than 60 countries across the world encouraging all people, regardless of culture, faith or creed, to simply perform an act of giving. The hope is that this call to action will create a unique moment of unity, a collaboration beyond borders, that harnesses the power and potential of generosity and propels us toward hope and healing.

Whether time, treasure, or talent, each one of us can experience the uplifting effect of giving. It is the antidote to loneliness, the cure to feelings of isolation and the remedy for the pandemic blues. In giving, we encounter a great unburdening of the self, a respite from the pressures of self-centered thinking. We turn our efforts outward and are rewarded with feelings of hope, connectedness and warmth. It is truly a one of a kind tonic for the soul.

GivingTuesdayNow inspires giving of all kinds. If you are able, make a donation to a favourite local, national or international cause, as charities of all shapes and sizes need our support more than ever. Share kindness by offering help to your neighbours and community, use the extra time you may have to lend a helping hand, share a kind word or be generous of spirit.

My 14 grandkids remind me that our children are a great source of creativity and inspiration. Drawing cheerful pictures, taking the time to call a loved one, colouring our sidewalks in bright chalk to liven the steps of a passerby, there really is no wrong way to show generosity and kindness. And even the smallest act of giving has the potential to take flight and inspire others to do the same.

Some of you may know Giving Tuesday as a call for charitable donations just before the Christmas holidays. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is a day where we are asked to think not of ourselves and our inclination to consume, but rather of others and our innate desire to give back. The Rideau Hall Foundation, which I am proud to serve as Chair, and  CanadaHelps are working together to bring the same essence of hope and help to this current crisis, and the timing couldn’t be more crucial. For ourselves, and for others, participating in GivingTuesdayNow’s global day of action on May 5 will connect our voices, our spirits, our communities, and our world. Together, we give, and in so doing, shall receive the joy of knowing we have made a difference.