The Spirit of Philanthropy
Do you remember the 1946 Holiday Classic "It's a Wonderful Life"? I watch it every Christmas. One scene that stands out in my mind features Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, dreaming he is visiting his hometown but finding out he never existed. Boy, did the town change for the worst without George!
It occurred to me, what would any charity be like if the charity and the associated spirit of philanthropy never existed?
Without The Salvation Army, Indiana Division, which operates through philanthropy, for example:
- Young children at the Ruth Lilly Women and Children's Center wouldn't receive a safe haven and means to help them in a time of crisis.
- Children would not be able to attend a summer camp for free.
- 875 families wouldn't receive more than 12,000 donated toys to give to their more than 2,250 children on Christmas morning.
- 3,875 children would not have new winter coats, hats and gloves each year.
- Hundreds of older adults would not receive a variety of social services on a daily basis.
- More than 510,000 free meals could not be distributed to the hungry in Central Indiana each year.
- More than 110,000 free nights of shelter would not be available to the homeless in Central Indiana annually.
- Thousands of volunteers could not serve others, and thousands of disaster victims would not have services provided to them at the time of their greatest need.
- Hundreds of individuals would not be given a second chance through the Pathway of Hope Program to have better lives.
- Many in constant need in our community would not have services directed to promote the healing of their bodies, minds and spirits, 24/7, 365 days a year.
And the list goes on and on.
You can see that philanthropy enhances the total care, giving and ministry at The Salvation Army. The same examples can be applied to your charity. Gifts in whatever form enable your charity to be a center link between your donor and recipient of good will. Never take your charity for granted, and always make your organization's existence meaningful.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.