A Gift at the End of the Year
I read the other day that 21 individuals or couples in this country made philanthropic pledges in excess of $100 million in 2009. I immediately had two thoughts: Thank God for the generosity of those who have been financially blessed, and I hope and pray such news doesn’t make everyday Americans think that, when it comes to giving, there is very little they can do.
Yes, it’s staggering to look at the accomplishments of an organization like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is spending billions around the world to wipe out diseases like malaria and provide educational opportunities for kids living in extreme poverty. But the fact is a small donation — and I’m talking about $10 or $20 — can still work small miracles for a lot of people in need.
Maybe you saw the piece recently on CNN about Keith Taylor, who has started the Modest Needs Foundation to help the working poor through short-term financial crises. Those who are facing an immediate financial burden — needing help with such things as rent for a month, or a particular medical bill or even a pair of eyeglasses — put their requests on Taylor’s Web site. All the requests are researched and verified by a seven-person staff. People like you and me can then peruse the site and contribute what we want, to meet a particular request. In many cases, Taylor says, a small donation can stop a crisis in its tracks.
That’s a point well worth remembering. So here’s an idea: In these final days of 2009, why don’t you do yourself, and someone else, a favor by sending some small contribution to the charity of your choice? Maybe it’s the Modest Needs Foundation. Or maybe it’s CASA, the Iraq Star Foundation, Red Cross or local humane groups. No, you won’t be treated as the second coming of Bill and Melinda Gates, but that’s hardly the point. Believe me, for someone out there, your little gift will be like pennies from heaven. And I cannot think of a better way for you to end one year and start a new one.