Giving Thanks and #GivingTuesday

November 23, 2016

This time of year, we can’t help but be reminded of all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for in our lives: family, friends, work, faith, community, and the beautiful natural world in which we live. I know we can all lead such busy lives, but when Thanksgiving rolls around, we can all use a little more time to stop and appreciate the blessings in our lives.

In my family, we sit down down for Thanksgiving dinner and before a fork is raised, we hold hands and share what we each are thankful for. You might have the same tradition; I’m sure we are not alone. We like to think of our coworkers at Friends of the Smokies and the National Park Service as one big family and I can tell you exactly what we are all thankful for this year — YOU.

Your donations make the work we do to protect and preserve Great Smoky Mountains National Park possible. And I’m not just saying that; I mean it literally. Our organization raises funds for the park, and without your donations and memberships and license plates, we could not pay for the critical projects that make our park so special to so many.

So thank you, from all of us, for your loyal and generous support this year. We really could not do it without you.

Photo by Sam Hobbs

Then after Thanksgiving of course comes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, easily the best shopping days of the year. But I hope your holiday giving doesn’t stop there, because the very next day is #GivingTuesday, November 29th. After all the presents are hidden away and ready to give out, take a moment and think about what you can give back.


To me, #GivingTuesday is all about taking time to give thanks and give back to the causes and charities that make our own lives and our world a little bit better and brighter. You might have a special place in your heart for feeding the hungry, or supporting our veterans, or caring for animals, or supporting research and exploration — all good and worthy causes.

dave-allenBut you’re taking the time to read our blog, so I know you also have a special place in your heart for the Great Smoky Mountains. It might be your home or your home away from home, your favorite family vacation spot or a cherished memory calling you back to childhood. Whatever you love about the Smokies, your donations on #GivingTuesday can make America’s most-visited national park that much better.

Your donations can help save beautiful trees from deadly invasive insects, provide black bears and elk with a safe place to thrive, and help schoolchildren get the education they deserve in the best classroom imaginable. These projects, along with about $1 million of others every year funded by your donations to Friends, are what make Great Smoky Mountains National Park the crown jewel of the National Park Service.

And once again this year, we want to make your donations go even farther, with a special matching gift opportunity.

Mast General Store  Patagonia  travelers-insurance

Giving TuesdayThrough grants and gifts from our Friends at Mast General Store, Patagonia, and Travelers Insurance, we have the chance to match your gift dollar-for-dollar up to our $15,000 goal. I know we can meet our goal with your help. Last year we aimed for $10,000 and thanks to you, we crushed it. So let’s aim higher now.

Donate on #GivingTuesday and with a matching gift from our partners, we can do something really great for the Great Smoky Mountains.

So mark your calendars to join us on #GivingTuesday, November 29th or make your donation right now at the link to the right.


Thank you for all you do for Great Smoky Mountains National Park and thank you for being a Friend,