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Laura McCann speaks with Caroline Pepper, an intern with Neigh'tions, and Jessica Farhan, the founder of Neigh'tions, during the CHAgives Pop-Up party in the Waterhouse Pavilion at Miller Plaza Tuesday, November 27, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Neigh'tions, which is a nonprofit that helps refugees resettle, is using the money they raise from Giving Tuesday primarily for a field trip for refugees to Kentucky and Ohio, so the refugees get to know more about the United States.

In the season of spending and eating, a little bit of giving back is a good way to balance the cosmic books, said organizers of #CHAgives, an effort that draws attention and resources to the work of nonprofits on Giving Tuesday.

"It's a great day to gather the community and be connected in a movement with the community," said Bethany Ramsey, a member of the #CHAgives committee and communications coordinator for the Ronald McDonald House.

Giving Tuesday is an international effort that began in 2012. The local campaign, which launched in 2015, has an aggressive $1 million fundraising goal this year, but the growth of the effort over the last few years made organizers feel good about their chances, Ramsey said.

"As we've been able to reach more people and make them aware of what Giving Tuesday is all about, we said, 'Let's go for it,'" Ramsey said.

Options for donating money and time are online at chagives.org, where organizers have created a list of 250 participating nonprofits. About 100 restaurants and businesses also listed on the website will donate a portion of Tuesday's proceeds to the effort.

Cassie Whittaker, a UTC senior from White House, Tennessee, works as an intern for the #CHAgives effort and coordinates its online presence. Social media is a critical component of increasing the impact and visibility of Giving Tuesday, she said.

GROWING #CHAGIVES

2015: $105,000 for 70 participating nonprofits

2016: $215,000 for 98 participating nonprofits

2017: $485,000 for 154 participating nonprofits

2018: $685,000 for 190 participating nonprofits

2019: Goal of $1 million for 250 nonprofits

You can donate online at chagives.org, where organizers have created a list of 250 participating nonprofit organizations and nearly 100 retail partners.

"A lot of this started when someone started the hashtag #GivingTuesday, and we do that with the hashtag #CHAgives," she said. "It helps us form a community and see what the community is doing throughout the campaign."

The local campaign was first organized by Causeway, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, the Generosity Trust and United Way of Greater Chattanooga. The #CHAgives effort is now organized by a coalition of Chattanooga-based nonprofits that take an informal, networked approach to organizing. A committee pitches in to help the campaign, manage the website, host an annual training event, promote the event and aggregate results.

"It's a global movement, and we're trying to represent the Chattanooga movement," Ramsey said. "To be able to amplify the impact every year is so important."

Contact Mary Fortune at mfortune@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.

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