In a season often defined by consumerism and presents, a global initiative tries to bring out the humanity in people. Giving Tuesday, entering its sixth year, has become a well-known initiative, encouraging people to donate their time and money to charities.

But where did it all start?

The origins of the movement are in New York City, where a cultural center called 92nd Street Y had an idea. They wanted to "harness social media" to bolster donations and start the charitable season early. The non-profit collaborated with the United Nations Foundation to kick of the first Giving Tuesday.

From that first year, the movement has expanded tremendously. Last year, $177 million was donated online, according to the Giving Tuesday website. These donations came from 98 different countries.

In order to boost attention online, the movement organizers started using #GivingTuesday. This hashtag has now received millions of shares on social media.

How you can help:

There are countless ways to step up in your community, either by donating money or volunteering your time.

Follow this link, to find a portal that allows you to search for organizations participating in the challenge in your community.

In D.C. alone, 1,023 organizations are listed. Meanwhile that number is 1,299 in Maryland, and 1,635 in Virginia. You can even select organization type, breaking it down by "corporation," "faith-based organization," "foundation," "nonprofit," "school," "small business," or "university."