Philanthropy Behind The Scenes At Small Business Saturday


There is something truly unique about the observance of Small Business Saturday in Los Alamos.

While the doors are dinging with the arrival of more customers and cash registers are clicking, silently in the background a philanthropic effort is underway. American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need – getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

In Los Alamos, while people are shopping, the local businesses are setting aside a portion of their proceeds for nonprofit organizations – most local, some national or international. United Way of Northern New Mexico is a popular charity with the merchants. According to UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega, last year the Small Business Saturday merchants donated almost $3,000 to her organization.

This year, UWNNM is the designated recipient of funds from more than a dozen of the businesses registered to participate in Small Business Saturday, and several of those have specified they will be donating 10 percent of the day’s profits. Other nonprofits that have been designated include Family Strengths Network; Friends of the Shelter; Roadrunner Food Bank; New Mexico Dog; White Rock Baptist Church; Pajarito Environmental Education Center; Los Alamos YMCA; Habitat for Humanity; a village in Lowinio, Vanuatu; Self Help Inc.; Girl Scouts; Horse Shelter; Hope Pregnancy Center; Environmental Defense Fund; and Panda’s Network.

Shopping locally in Los Alamos provides a more convenient and personal experience. It also supports the local economy and builds a tight-knit community. Almost 60 local retailers, restaurants, service providers and home-based businesses in Los Alamos and White Rock have signed up to offer specials and in-store events to help celebrate the national initiative designed to support small businesses during the holiday season.

The public is invited to learn more about Small Business Saturday in Los Alamos by visiting the website