While helping my daughter with a school project on a recent Saturday morning, the local news was on t.v. in the background. While I sat at the kitchen table watching her complete the next section of her assignment, I had my ears tuned in to a few “feel good” stories about upcoming events around town.
Sacramento is one of the most philanthropic communities, both in terms of number of non-profits and number of dollars donated annually per capita. And since we’re coming up on the “giving season” when some 70% of charitable fundraising occurs, plus we’re all exhausted by the nasty political landscape this year, it wasn’t surprising that KCRA was focused on three stories about local organizations on this beautiful fall morning.
The first story highlighted volunteers preparing for the 5th Annual Bike and Toy Giveaway next month put on by the Sacramento Kings Foundation and Buzz Oates Charities. Eight local schools will be the recipients of 4,000 brand new bicycles and 4,000 wrapped toys. This story got my attention because a good friend of mine was one of the gift-wrappers.
The second story highlighted the 9th Annual Macy’s Believe Campaign kickoff. You know, the one where kids can write a letter to Santa at the store, drop it in the magical Santa Mail box, and for each letter received, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish? Now this story got my attention for two reasons: the first being that our organization, The Wish List Project, gets confused with Make-a-Wish a lot, just because we both have the word “wish” in our name. Clearly our “Wish” organization doesn’t have the reach or the dollars of their national “Wish” organization…YET. The second reason is that I recently met Jennifer Stolo, CEO of Make-a-Wish (Northeastern California and Northern Nevada region) at a conference. Jennifer is a lovely person, and so generous with her knowledge and skills as a long time leader in the non-profit sector. She made a significant impression on me.
The third story told of a little girl named Reese, a young lady recently in remission from leukemia who has a love of gymnastics. Her story led into the details of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk which celebrates survivors like Reese, and honors those who lost their fight with cancer.
And then it was back to my daughter at the kitchen table. Later, as I reflected on my feelings about the good stuff people are doing in our community, I remembered why I founded The Wish List Project nearly four years ago and why I will continue to make a difference in the lives of kids, no matter whether they’re kids in need that I haven’t yet met, or kids sitting at my kitchen table.