Giving Up to Give Has Amazing Inaugural Year, Prepares for Exciting Changes in 2015

This past year brought many new projects to GBA, including the nutrition curriculum, which combined with the Clean Water and Waste Management curriculum, and became the framework for our new multi-year sustainability curriculum. Other important additions include Katy Nielsen’s GBA documentary and a partnership with the inventive and inspirational Giving Up to Give (GUTG). GUTG was founded by Maria Brown and her family. Their son, Oliver, is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Maria met GBA co-founder Ann Marie Thomson in 2012 and sought to take on an active role in GBA; she is now a board member.

The Brown family

In an interview with Maria Brown last year, she explained the rationale behind GUTG:

“Some friends of ours were beginning the adoption process and were fundraising. We saw them selling things that they owned in order to raise the money they needed to adopt. We wanted to help, but we didn’t have much extra money to give. We did have a few things we didn’t have to have, so we sold them. In just a few days (and with minimal effort) we had $100 to donate. That got us thinking about how much excess we have and how our small “giving up” can make a big difference, while also making us more purposeful in our giving.”

The Browns thought that this idea of giving up could be applied to GBA. GUTG is designed to be both a fundraiser and a network of creativity and support. “The ultimate goal is to connect people to what is happening in DRC and to the children at College des Savior, and to help us all realize that we don’t just have to give out of our excess (or lack of it)–we can sacrifice, and in doing so connect ourselves more intimately with other human beings halfway around the world,” Maria added. She encourages people to think about the ripple effect of their positive actions and to think about the boundary-less principles of generosity and love. To read more from the interview, click here.

Over the course of 2014, individuals, families, and groups came together to brainstorm unique ways in which giving up something in their lives could benefit someone else’s. From replacing usual meals with rice and beans to donating a birthday presents, GUTG never ceases to come up with resourceful ideas to make giving a part of daily life. By the year’s end, GUTG raised $5341.07 and made countless connections between peoples’ lives.

Giving Up to Give will continue, stronger than ever, in 2015. It will be getting a makeover, including a revamped name, to be announced soon, and a calendar on the GBA website, where you will be able to track all of the giving activities. For now, you can view GUTG at We hope that you will consider supporting GBA through Giving Up to Give. If you need inspiration on what to give or how to get started, look no further than this website.  Starting soon, we will be posting profiles of events and people participating in GUTG, highlighting fun and challenging giving ideas that you can incorporate into your own life.