Musicians help make first Giving Tuesday a success, but more need to carry its tune

John Legend launches JC Penney's Holiday Giving tour on Giving Tuesday

By Laura Ferreiro

Following on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the first-ever Giving Tuesday took place last Tuesday (Nov. 27), reminding people that the holidays are more than just a shopping frenzy.

The day was a great success and saw a 53% increase in charitable giving over the same day last year, spurring approximately $10 million in online donations to charities and foundations, according to the UN Foundation, which created the idea for Giving Tuesday along with 92Y and Mashable.

A handful of musicians got into the giving spirit, staging performances, donating to charity and encouraging people to get involved in supporting numerous good causes.

Sharkira tweeted “I’m supporting @UNICEF #GivingTuesday”, and John Legend performed at a free concert in New York’s Bryant Park sponsored by JC Penney. The concert not only celebrated Giving Tuesday, but also launched JC Penney’s nationwide Holiday Giving Tour, which will hit 12 cities around the U.S. and feature musical performances, tree-lighting ceremonies, Santa visits and more.

Linkin Park worked with renowned non-profit Music for Relief to spread the word about its Power the World initiative. Designed to provide clean energy solutions for people who don’t have access to electricity, Power the World was established by Linkin Park to support the United Nations’ work to combat poverty and bring solar power to homes and health clinics in Haiti and Uganda.

“The Voice” star Cee Lo Green also got into the act, helping to promote Celebrity Bookends – a set of hand-shaped bookends that’s traveling the world to help raise money for Giving Tuesday partner Cooperative for Education, which provides education programs for children in Guatemala.

That said, a relatively small number of musicians publically supported Giving Tuesday, as opposed to World AIDS Day on Saturday (December 1), which saw numerous high-profile musicians like Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys actively campaigning to raise awareness and encourage giving.

Imagine the giving power that could be generated if musicians got involved and helped spread the message of Giving Tuesday. Things got off to a great start this year, but here’s hoping next year’s second-annual Giving Tuesday — set for Dec. 3, 2013 — will generate even more noise!

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