Double the dollars for Southeast Texans helping Southeast Texans

4-year-old heart transplant patient Griffin Barnett

Shopping local doesn’t have to stop with what you pay for food and clothes. As the season of buying, and of giving and receiving, quickly approaches, also consider the disposable income you put into charity — and whether those funds could be used in the community you call home.

Although not quite as popular as Black Friday — yet — #GivingTuesday allows donors, large and small, to not only support the charities that support their own communities, but to also double those donation dollars through partnerships offering matching funds. Last year, Facebook partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation much to the benefit of nonprofits like the Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas (CFST).

CFST Executive Director Gigi Mazzola said she wasn’t expecting the blessing in the wake of #GivingTuesday 2017, but was very appreciative of the double-donation the movement afforded.

“To be honest, I didn’t know much about the campaign last year,” Mazzola said. She learned about #GivingTuesday when she checked Facebook. “I created (our giving link) very quickly that day. A week later, we got a matching check.” 

The much-needed contribution was extremely timely in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and Mazzola expressed appreciation for those who supported the nonprofit’s effort that went directly to Southeast Texas families recovering from the storm. Funds given to CFST always stay local, she said, and every dollar is needed and put to good use. 

“Everything stays local — every penny,” Mazzola said. In addition to efforts like Harvey recovery, money raised for the CFST is used to advance clinical research, grant educational opportunities via scholarships for higher education, and fund patient assistance programs. 

“We are a small nonprofit, so we’re direct,” she said. “We want to help people that want to help themselves; they want to make their lives better and we want to do what we can to make that happen.”

People wanting to help organizations like CFST have made #GivingTuesday a huge success, as the movement provides an opportunity each year for people to discover new ways to give back and support the causes that mean the most to them. Although it’s only one day out of the year, this giving movement is growing globally and can be leveraged by many nonprofits to showcase their mission and raise funds.

In 2017, Facebook and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a combined $2 million in matching donations to nonprofits that used Facebook to fundraise on #GivingTuesday. On that day, 473,000 people raised over $45 million for over 46,000 organizations. Most notably, over 75 percent of donors on #GivingTuesday in 2017 were first-time donors on Facebook.

This year, Facebook is partnering with PayPal to match up to $7 million in donations made on Facebook to eligible 501(c) 3 nonprofits – just like the Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas. Facebook and PayPal will start matching donations at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, until $7 million in donations is reached or at 11:59 p.m. on the same day.

To ensure an equitable distribution of the funds so that local public nonprofits like the Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas get a portion of the match funds, a structure and cap was created to spread those dollars to more organizations. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar on a first-come, first-served basis, up to $250,000 per nonprofit and $20,000 per donor.

Researchers from Facebook and the Gates Foundation penned a report after last year’s #Giving Tuesday to recap the phenomenal event.

“Our research shows that shared connections within communities can be powerful — strongly motivating people to donate to important charitable causes that matter to them and their friends,” they found. “While philanthropy is an ancient tradition, giving has evolved over time as new technologies emerge and provide additional ways for people to donate to what is important to them. Facebook is just one vehicle that people can use toward this effort, and our hope is that our tools will continue to … contribute to growing the larger charitable giving pie.”

“Give where you live,” Mazzola urges. The Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas’ mission to assist those in need in our community can use your help, she said. “It’s going to a great cause.”

And, for one day — Nov. 27 — every cent given is multiplied.

“It’s a great way to double your donation,” Mazzola added. “No contribution is too small. Every dollar turns into two.” 

For more information about Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas, visit To double your donation dollars to the SETX charity, visit the Cardiovascular Foundation of Southeast Texas Facebook page on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 27, and become part of the global movement with local impact.