Gathering In and Giving Out

I happen to like Giving Tuesday a lot more than Black Friday.

I would rather that we focus on charitable organizations and how to help them advance their mission rather than buying something. Before you start spending money on Christmas presents, I encourage you to think about your giving and the causes that are important to you. As adults, we learn that giving gifts really is more enjoyable than receiving them.

At the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, we are servants to help others give to causes they value. It is what we get to do year-round, not just a few days a year.

But this is the season we label Thanksgiving and then we celebrate the gift of salvation and the gift of generosity and we look forward to giving people gifts. For many religious traditions, this is a time of thankfulness and kindness. This is a season of gathering in and giving out in a variety of ways.

Kurt Janowsky and other volunteers fed a Thanksgiving meal to hundreds on Thursday. Volunteers are ringing bells and serving pancakes to help the Salvation Army. People are making charitable donations. This is a season where people get more involved. November and December are by far the highest involvement months at the Community Foundation. Forty percent of our giving will occur during these two months of the year.

It is rewarding to see the high volume of generosity in and I have the privilege of putting my name on the bottom of the checks sent. It’s humbling to be the architects of other people’s generosity, to help design ways to share and do so effectively.

I do believe there is a spiritual act of generosity. Any generosity is a holy act or a spiritual act. A person’s generosity is an indicator of spiritual health. It is a willingness to share what I have with other people and it requires sacrifice.

Whether it is out of abundance or out of modest means, it still is an act that says there is something I could do selfishly with my resources, but I am willing to part with it to help someone else.

How we spend our money reflects our values and our personalities. If we look at our checkbook, we can see the activities, the causes, the things we value. Time and money are the two most precious resources that we have. I hope that on this Giving Tuesday, you have time to reflect. This busy holiday season will have us all scurrying, but it’s good to consider how we can give, how we can act in unselfish ways. We can plant seeds of generosity during this season that sprout throughout the year.

May you and your family have a blessed holiday season.

Pete McCown
President of Community Foundation of Elkhart County