Be the Change: A Guide to Embracing MLK’s Legacy Through Action

We celebrate MLK Day as a national day of service each year on the third Monday in January, focused on racial equity, civic engagement, and serving the communities in which we live. 

Make your MLK Day a “Day On” through service. Today, we will go over a few ways you can get involved this MLK day and beyond and highlight a few institutions, organizations, cities, and businesses engaging their students, community, faculty, and staff to live out MLK's legacy. 

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is the best way to give back to your community. Sharing your time, talent, and treasure and calling for positive social change is what Dr. King stood for. MLK Day offers unique in-person and virtual volunteering opportunities focused on racial justice and community building. Check out in-person and virtual opportunities on GivePulse to get involved this year! 

2. Learn and Grow

Education enables you to be an effective advocate and empowers you to engage in meaningful conversations, challenge misconceptions, and work towards dismantling systemic inequalities. Education becomes a powerful tool in the pursuit of social justice, encouraging a continuous commitment to learning and evolving perspectives. Learn more about Dr. King, his life, and his legacy, or visit museums honoring his legacy, like the National Civil Rights Museum.

3. Donate

Dr. King’s advocacy for social change was deeply rooted in collective responsibility and communal upliftment. Donating to local and national organizations focused on advancing racial equity provides vital financial support to organizations and initiatives that actively work toward dismantling systemic racism and promoting inclusivity. Additionally, donating goods like baby products, clothing, coats, shoes, food, etc., can significantly impact members of your community by providing much-needed items and support. Head over to to browse donation drives and fundraisers you can support.

4. Vote

MLK was a strong advocate for the right to vote as a fundamental aspect of democratic participation to achieve social and political change. As the United States national election approaches on November 5, 2024, educate yourself on the issues and candidates and advocate for the voting rights of all Americans. Be sure to check if you’re registered to vote, and sign up to receive election reminders through our friends at TurboVote! 

5. Support 

As we celebrate MLK day and move into Black History Month (February 1 - March 1, 2024), it’s an excellent time to use your purchasing power to support Black-owned businesses in your community. Supporting BIPOC-owned businesses promotes diversity within the business landscape. By intentionally seeking out and supporting BIPOC-owned businesses, organizations, and causes, you are building a more inclusive economy that benefits everyone. 


Communities in Action

Join institutions, GivePulse, cities, and businesses like Georgia Pacific, who are encouraging community-wide engagement to collectively impact social good for MLK day. All of us can be great because any person, group, organization, or business can serve.


The City of Ogden:

The City of Ogden, Utah, is honoring MLK Day by partnering with local organizations, businesses, and institutions to host a community breakfast where there will be presentations about the life and legacy of MLK and how we, as citizens and communities, can get involved and create positive change. 

City of Ogden MLK day event banner on GivePulse


Athens-Clarke County: 

Athens-Clarke County is partnering with local organizations and businesses to host over 25 MLK Day of Service events for the community to take part in. They are offering a range of opportunities, from volunteer recognition events to gardening and beautification opportunities. Athens-Clarke County is embracing MLK Day as a “Day On” and encouraging community members to make an impact!

Athens MLK Day of Service GivePulse event Banner

Bowling Green State University: 

For the past 16 years, Bowling Green State University has worked to make MLK Day on campus a “Day On” rather than a day off by partnering with community organizations and student groups to provide opportunities that align with the mission of Martin Luther King Jr. and to serve in the community and live out the legacy of Dr. King. Learn more about Bowling Green State University’s MLK Day of Service. 

Bowling Green State University GivePulse MLK Day event banner

High Point University: 

Each year, High Point University celebrates MLK Day by hosting a campus-wide day of service with over 20 opportunities to allow students, faculty, and staff to support organizations and causes in their community. High Point University offers opportunities to students and a handful of events for community members, like packing care kits for veterans, helping to clean out and organize the food pantry, and cleaning and preparing gardens. High Point University also offers educational workshops and presentations highlighting Dr. King’s life and legacy. Learn more about High Point University’s MLK Day of Service.

High Point University MLK Day GivePulse event banner

Washington State University: 

Washington State University embraces a “Day On” on campus by offering students, faculty, and staff over 15 opportunities to get involved locally, from meal assistance programs to food pantry opportunities, community planting day, and more! Additionally, they are hosting events the entire week focused on promoting MLK’s legacy through film screenings, National Day of Racial Healing events, community conversations, book signings, and more. Washington State University is helping to #BeTheChange in their community. Learn more about their MLK Day of Service

Washington State University GivePulse MLK Day event banner




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GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

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