Monday, March 7, 2011

My Ten Bucks (philanthropy)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: My Ten Bucks, by Esther Curtis


BLOG DESCRIPTION: "Why giving to local charities makes all the difference in your communities."

MY REVIEW: Whenever there's an economic downturn, there's going to be people, or animals, or indeed - locations - in need. In this blog, author Esther Hofknecht Curtis highlights the various local charities that exist in her community (and indeed, similar charities probably exist in your community) and what they do to help those who need help.

Some of the stories are quite inspiring. The blog is updated once a week.

Check it out on the web!

Sample post:
Philanthropy: Not a "rich word"
We often hear the word "philanthropy" thrown around when it comes to Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates. These people dedicate millions of dollars to national organizations. We don't often hear the word associated with everyday joes. And yet, broke as I am, I am a philanthropist, in every sense of the word.

Phi·lan·thro·py [fi-lan-thruh-pee] –noun, plural -pies.

- altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.
the activity of donating to such persons or purposes in this way: to devote one's later years to philanthropy.
- a particular act, form, or instance of this activity: The art museum was their favorite philanthropy.
- a philanthropic organization.

This definition provided by, tells us that philanthropy is not just defined by giving large donations of money, but any donation of money, property, or work to needy persons.

Donation of your time is as valuable as money. You can be a philanthropist without donating your life savings; you can donate your time. As I continue to investigate these nonprofits, I am struck how many of them say they need volunteers. Yes, cash is good. Cash is great. But dedicated, skilled volunteers are difficult to find.

At Bootless Artworks, Rosanne needs volunteers for the production of shows. At Kinfolk, Melinda needs people to help package and distribute computers to needy children. At Faithful Friends, Jane needs volunteers to clean cages, do laundry, and cuddle up to their residents. This is work that they cannot accomplish on their own, because they are too busy trying to keep their nonprofits above water financially.

Volunteering is great. People who volunteer live fuller, more meaningful lives. I know, because I grew up volunteering in many odd capacities. My parents encouraged me to give back from the moment I could.

I was the youngest volunteer on Rick Santorum's campaign when I was 15. (No, I am not a republican.) I volunteered at the Academy of Natural Sciences, cleaning cages, playing with skunks, and dodging snakes in the Live Animal Unit. I spent whole summers volunteering at kids' day camps, and I helped staff Roxborough Area Christian Camp (at Tel Hai) for something like six years. (There, I held the biggest canonball record for quite a few years, until I was unseated by the holy terror of canonball competitions, Kevin Gourley.) These experiences were invaluable for me, because I learned how to deal with people at a very early age, respected the field of public service, and gained insight into my own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I will never, ever, ever be able to hold a tarantula. I'll leave that one up to my little brother.

Volunteer hours are valued by the IRS at $20.85 per hour. That means that time donated is valued at more than what I make an hour as a paid nonprofit Executive Director. (I'm not complaining, just trying to make a point.)

Challenging as it may be to find the time, I encourage you to exercise your spirit of philanthropy by donating an hour or two per week to a local charity. I guarantee you will not regret it. You will be challenged, no doubt, but your life will be enriched by your experience.

Philanthropy is not a "rich word". It is a word that describes the best that people can offer to those in need, whether that is money, time, or property. Choose to become a member of this elite group of individuals. Choose to be a philanthropist.

--Read Aloud Delaware: Making Reading a Priority for Delaware's Children
--Philanthropy: Not a "rich word"
--Spirits are Renewed at Faithful Friends
--Grassroots: Where all change begins
--Producing More than Just Plays at Bootless Artworks
--Small Nonprofits May Mean More Value for Your Ten Bucks

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Marguerite, for posting my blog! I appreciate the advice you gave me! Best wishes.