Twenty five years ago, I took my first trip to Europe. Three weeks in five countries starting with Holland. I flew into Amsterdam and spent a few days there exploring. I had the opportunity to visit "The Hiding Place" of Anne Frank. I had read her book, “The Diary Of A Young Girl”, when I was a young girl, and it made an impression on me. She wrote it between the ages of 13-15, before her capture and death in a Nazi concentration camp. What an eerie, humbling feeling to walk through the rooms where she lived in her final days, climbing up the “secret staircase” behind the bookcase meant to hide her and her family from the Nazi’s who wanted to destroy all Jews. I recall thinking about the moldy scent and drab walls in what had been her bedroom, and thinking about how she had spent hours smelling this odor and staring at these walls before she was ultimately captured and killed.
Four brave people helped the Frank family during their hiding period. They brought them food, and news about the war. They risked their lives every day to secure food supplies for the Frank family during a time when finding food for themselves was a challenge. Two of the four were ultimately arrested and jailed as “enemies of the regime”. Imagine the GRATITUDE Anne and her family felt toward those four. Perhaps those feelings were behind her infamous quote: “No One Has Ever Become Poor By Giving”
For those of us in the US, I suspect our initial thought when reading that quote focuses on material goods. I think Anne had a deeper meaning in mind. I suspect she was saying that by giving to others, we receive unexpected gains as well. The four who helped her were far from materially wealthy, but I imagine they received more than we’ll ever understand from their generosity during the war.
Mother Theresa is another who comes to mind when I think of the true gifts we receive from a generous heart. She gave her life to helping some of the world’s absolute poorest in Calcutta, India. She certainly didn’t gain material wealth, but I suspect her life was richer than we’ll ever imagine.
None of us will likely have the chance to help people like Anne Frank or Calcutta’s poorest, but we can give in so many other ways.
I believe it is our moral obligation as members of “The Haves” to help members of “The Have Nots”. I guess that's why I founded a non-profit to help low income families. If you don’t believe you are a member of “The Haves”, just view it through the eyes of the millions of people who don’t have a warm place to sleep at night or clean water to drink, or an education because it’s not available in their community.
Don’t agree with me? That's ok, I have 9 great reasons that will hopefully change your mind.
1. SMALL DONATIONS HAVE A BIG IMPACT - You don't have to be a millionaire to make a significant difference in improving another's quality of life. Pocket change is powerful when pooled together.
2. GIVING WORKS - Find a local organization whose mission resonates with you and help however you can. By giving your time, your talent or your money, you can help change the world.
3. POVERTY CAN BE SOLVED - Effective interventions can break the cycle of poverty. Aid provides those living in extreme poverty with necessary resources to attain a better standard of living.
4. GIVING MAKES US HAPPIER - Research shows that spending money on ourselves doesn't increase our happiness or sense of well being. However, a Harvard study showed that happier people give more and giving makes people happy. It's basically saying that happiness operates in a positive loop.
5. WE HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO COMBAT POVERTY - Hundreds of millions of people live on less than $1.90 a day. In the U.S., we have significant resources at our disposal. If every American citizen contributed just $3 each, we could come up with a billion dollars of aid. It's very possible to give without diverting resources from our own education or health programs and with little impact to our own quality of life.
6. GIVING HELPS CREATE THE WORLD WE WANT TO LIVE IN - There's about a 10% chance that a newborn child will be one of the 700 million living on less than $2 per day. How do you feel about that statistic? Giving helps build a world where we are ALL safer, healthier, and happier.
7. GIVING IS A QUESTION OF JUSTICE - Most of us know that working hard doesn't guarantee success in our efforts. External factors such as where we live can greatly increase or decrease our chances of success, and can determine the quality of or access we have to healthcare, education, good infrastructure, and good paying jobs.
8. IT'S HUMAN NATURE TO GIVE - We are compelled to help people falling on hard times, whether friends or strangers. We might resist giving to a panhandler fearing they will misuse money, but we all know that guilty feeling after we decide not to help someone who clearly needs it.
And for those who are more pragmatic...
9. GIVING CAN BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE
I challenge you to give in some way before the end of the year. While your motive should be to help those in need, I believe you’ll also find that your generosity will bring unexpected richness to your own life.
And remember...NO ONE HAS EVER BECOME POOR BY GIVING.
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I was notified on Tuesday that The Wish List Project had been selected to use the Community Suite at Golden 1 Center on Sunday afternoon for the Marvel Universe LIVE Show. WOW! What an opportunity for our young people. Free tickets, parking, food and drinks for whomever I could round up in 4 and a half days. No problem!! I made calls, sent texts and emails and offered this opportunity to the first alumni, board members or supporters to respond. We took four cars and met at the arena – 12 youth and 5 adults enjoyed the Suite Life thanks to the #Golden1Gives Program.
If you’re one of the lucky ones to have experienced an event in a Golden 1 Arena Suite before, you know how special it is to get the VIP treatment. A separate VIP entrance, an elevator ride with your own operator taking you to the Suite Level, and a staff member greeting you at your Suite who makes sure you have what you need? Awesome! So this is how the other half lives… After taking some pictures to commemorate our adventure and thank our host, we headed back to reality and drove home with big smiles on our faces.
THANK YOU GOLDEN 1 CREDIT UNION!
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Summertime often leads to breaking our typical routines and doing things just for the fun of it. Take a break and enjoy this little bit of trivia. Then tell us which one surprised you the most.
Hope to see you at Raley Field!Write comment (0 Comments)
As a small organization, and a first year participant, we set a goal of raising $5,000 during this annual 24-hour giving event. 43 compassionate donors came together to support young people in our community,and smashed that goal. The final tally was a whopping $7,212. Your generosity overwhelms and humbles us! Your gifts will help dozens of low income youth access what they need to pursue their interests and achieve their goals.
Here's the breakdown:
$4,962 was raised by 43 individual donors during the 24-hour event
$1,500 in matching funds were donated by two board members (this was used to incentivize giving by doubling the value of individual donations)
$750 was won via two Big DOG Booster PrizesWrite comment (0 Comments)
For those who do not know, Big Day of Giving is a day in which the Sacramento community comes together to support nonprofits and the work they do to make the Sacramento region the place we know and love as home. As board members of nonprofits and leaders in our community, we have a responsibility to embody the values we espouse, to do what we ask of others, and to lead by example. In that way, one of the most powerful actions we can take is to do what we are asking of our community: to give generously for the benefit of others, to support the causes and values we wish to see more of in the world.
Our passion at The Wish List Project is lifting the youth in our community, providing valuable opportunities for underprivileged kids and teens, helping the next generation succeed so they in turn can extend goodwill to others.
As the Chairperson of The Wish List Project Board of Directors, it is so important that I live by example in my personal life, embodying the aspirations of our organization on a personal level before I can ask others to do the same and “buy into” our mission. When we are gone, it will be our values and actions that those around us remember. This year, let’s leave a legacy of generosity and inspire others to do the same.
Please help The Wish List Project reach our goal of raising $5,000 for young people in our community during Big Day of Giving on May 4th.Write comment (0 Comments)
Enjoy our newest video which highlights some of the special young people for whom we've granted wishes. You can help provide opportunities for even more Sacramento area youth by making a donation on May 4th, or scheduling your donation now for Big Day of Giving. #BDOG2017 #TWLProject
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I want to talk about transparency. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a huge car fan, especially when it comes to classic muscle cars. I recently took my 1965 mustang to a mechanic to have the engine swapped for a larger one (what other type of swap is there?). The mechanic quoted me a price that we agreed on and then proceeded to call me after two days and said things were more complicated than he thought and it would be almost double the price. I want to talk about transparency because without it, how can we trust who we give our money to?
It dawned on me that although my car example and giving to a nonprofit are different, in both scenarios the individual giving their money wants to make sure he or she is putting the money to the best possible use. Without full transparency, it’s hard to make an informed decision as to whether you want to purchase a product or service or donate to a cause. So, from start to finish, I want to show the life of a donation.
It all starts with you, the donor. You decide, for whatever reason you may have, to donate to help others in need. You go to our website and donate. The money you donated goes into a fund to be used specifically for granting the needs of a local child, someone who has been nominated by a professional in their community because that person believes, despite the hardships, that the child will succeed and change their life and the lives around them with just a little help. The nominator (usually a teacher, coach, other child advocate) submits documentation asking for assistance for that child. We, the board, review the application and reach out to the nominator should we need clarification. At our next meeting, we pull out that application and review it together asking questions like ‘is it feasible to grant that request?’, ‘Will this help the child?’, ‘What else can we do to help this child?’ When we decide that this is a good use of donor funds and we would be honored to help the child, we work with the nominator to get all the details set and grant the request. Lastly, and everybody’s favorite part, we get the opportunity to deliver the request to the child.
It is a simple process but it is why I joined The Wish List Project. This process allows us to connect the best intentions of our donors to the most wonderful, deserving children. Every penny of every dollar of it. And we will never call you up saying it's more complicated than we thought and we need more money to make it happen.Write comment (0 Comments)
Last week, I got to experience, yet again, the best part of being the Executive Director of The Wish List Project. I, along with Board Member Mikey Langlois, delivered art supplies to several of our newest grantees at a local high school. Typically, our Fall Grants cycle is complete by January or February and we're getting ready for the Spring cycle now. However, scheduling issues were unavoidable this time, and mid March was our first opportunity to meet the needs of all involved - kids, teachers and staff included. But the wait paid off for everyone!
We loaded up the four big boxes of goodies we brought, into a borrowed wagon and set off to meet the teens who love the arts so much. As we entered the classroom, the magic of the moment wasn't lost on me. Their joy at seeing what treasures might lurk inside those boxes was infectious to every adult in the room. We passed out each student's supplies, chatted with each of them about their love of art, took pictures and watched some of them begin to create on the fresh paper in their new sketch pads. Keep in mind that many of these kids would be going home to hardships we couldn't possibly imagine, so this was a a much needed vacation from reality for some. And bringing home something brand new that was all theirs might be a first for some of them.
When it was time to go, the kids promised to send us pictures of some of their artwork. Mikey and I left that room to head back to the car, and we both found ourselves smiling and feeling grateful for the opportunity to do this important work. These gifts of interaction with our grant recipients to share what you, our donors, are providing to enrich their lives, that is the greatest reward we could ever receive. Thank you for truly making a difference!
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