published: Friday, April 13, 2012
Give until it hurts and it'll help others
In a tough, unstable economy like this one, people tend to turn to businesses (the private sector) or the government (the public sector) to solve the problems we are facing.
We are encouraged to buy American or support local businesses, or just buy something to help businesses retain and hire employees. We debate lowering taxes and raising taxes or voting to spend and voting to cut. And both the private and public sectors have their role in the American economy.
However, I think we often forget about the third sector -- nonprofits.
When you think of charities, you may think of the Salvation Army ringing the bell at Christmas time to help provide dinners for needy families, or the Girl Scouts learning leadership skills by selling their delicious cookies (peanut butter patties, anyone?).
Yes, a nonprofit will encourage you to give or donate. But this isn't a handout. Sure, you may get tax deductions. But the money you donate is really an invest-ment in the community. Your donation will support necessary community services, support jobs and support you in case you ever need help.
I said support jobs -- the nonprofit sector employs nearly nine million people and consistently creates new, high-quality jobs! (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; "Philanthropy Journal").
So I encourage you to give. Find your passion, whatever it is, and give. Give money, give time, or both.
There's a saying that I encourage everyone to abide by: "Don't give until it hurts. Give until it feels good."
Of course, I am biased. I work for New Vision for Independence, a Leesburg-based nonprofit organization serving the visually impaired and blind of Lake and Sumter counties. This is my passion and I give.
But I know not everyone is passionate about vision or vision loss. And that's fine. Contact the local United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. It supports our community in so many ways, and your support is always welcome.
Bottom line: Give to help the economy. Charitable giving fits right in there with buying local/American and paying/cutting taxes (depending on your views) as a way to boost the economy.
Chantel Buck is the executive director of New Vision for Independence Inc. in Leesburg