The choices are endless.
I could help the local girls softball association repair their catchers’ gear, the church youth group’s journey to New Orleans to rebuild houses, food shelf collections at my neighborhood grocery store, the picnic for families struggling with sarcoma, the small theater company’s edgy production of a work by an Asian American playwright.
Or I could support internationally renowned breast cancer researchers, a potter in South America via microfinancing, cleaner air worldwide, millions of the hungry and sick displaced by civil war or drought-ridden lands, or schooling for a youngster in Uganda.
Whether it’s across the street, across town or across the ocean, whether it’s one person or a multinational organization with hundreds of staff people, their passion to make the world a better place is what motivates them to pursue their mission and inspires us to give.
Among the freedoms we celebrate this weekend, let’s not forget that we Americans have the freedom to choose which of these passions we support and the extent to which we give.
Imagine how different our country would be if we could not freely and openly give.
In American Philanthropy Diversity: What It Means, Why It Matters, published March 2009 by The Philanthropy Roundtable, Naomi Schaefer Riley writes:
“The distinctive characteristic of American philanthropy is freedom. … However Americans want to help, they are at perfect liberty to do so. The result has been an awe-inspiring display of human ingenuity. The breadth, depth and variety of American charity has no historical precedent or contemporary parallel.
It addresses many thousands of causes, supported by many millions of donors, all of whom take it upon themselves to try to improve their communities in some small way. Such philanthropic diversity reflects the extraordinary creativity of free people deciding how best to give away their money.
It exists because countless individuals freely come together in pursuit of a vast variety of moral goods. Each of these associations has some charitable purpose; each has its own strategy. Each is unique, and each contributes to the rich mosaic of American philanthropy.”
So, choose to give a little or a lot, to some and not others, to give money or time. For me, the key is that I am choosing to give.
Happy Independence Day!
- Chris Murakami Noonan, MCF Communications Associate