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What’s It Worth To Ya?

May 7, 2009

When times are rough financially, I try to give a little more. Think about it. All of those charities that nobody outside your own community has ever heard about are facing extinction. They matter within a very small sphere and rely, generally, upon the generosity of a very few donors. Often a single company will pick up the shortfall each year. This year will be different for many of them.

Nervous about what may happen economically in light of what has happened, even companies who seem to be doing well are exercising caution in their spending. Individuals are reeling from the shock of lay-offs, cutbacks or simply reading their 401K statements.  Local and state governments, in a valiant effort to stay afloat, are curbing spending that would have benefited the arts, social and health programs. Simply put, those very special organizations that provide unique services and programs are in danger. The large charities are suffering too, but their survival isn’t at issue in the same way.

I’ve fancied several small, but important not-for-profits: Rippleffect in Portland, ME, On Belay in Durham, NH and Friends of Karen in North Salem, NY to name a few. I say important because each has a mission, a direction and fills a societal need that wouldn’t be met if it wasn’t there. These aren’t national headliners. That’s exactly why I’ve supported them. Watching what they do, how they enrich lives, and sensing the good that they engender in our society makes me understand how valuable they and the thousands of other organizations like them are to us as a nation. How do you measure their worth? I don’t know. But I know that without some extra attention right now many won’t be here next year.

And so, I’m adding a few bucks to my pledges. It goes like this: first I think, “I really can’t afford it.” Then I remember that I spent $25.00 on a sandwich and 2 beers yesterday and I reach for the checkbook. Really … can’t afford it? Who am I kidding?

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