Where did we come up with this?
By Ed Komonowski
For years, around 25 at this point, I’ve worked in the social sector and for universities. It was always built within me for some reason with a goal to serve others. I could say my parents helped formulate those ideals, or my church promoted the spirit of helping those in need and thinking of the least among us, or perhaps it was just about “fairness” that there was something in me that I felt some needs or issues should be addressed.
Regardless of the reasons, I realized that in spite of all of the volunteer hours and donations made, I kept seeing more people in crisis and society’s issues getting bigger. It seemed that the harder I tried to help, the less impact it made in the face of such daunting problems. So, I came back to my home of Morgan County to lead the Community Foundation of Morgan County forward in getting to the real problems in our community with the challenge to come up with real solutions.
It wasn’t enough to give out grants and scholarships to fine programs and good students. I wanted to get to the root of the problems we face as a society and to have uncomfortable conversations about the reality many of our friends and neighbors face each day. Our Real Problems/Real Solutions is the first step towards having this community conversation.
However, like many times in life, it was one of those “chance moments” that led me to hear something that was missing in our efforts. I heard a recording of Pastor Chris Page talking about intentional giving. The link to our Podcast IMPACT is below and I’d ask you to give it a listen. My hope is that you’ll come away with the similar thought that I did in that if you want to accomplish anything in life, it’s not by chance but by being intentional about it. For us, and I hope you’ll join us, it’s that our community has to be intentional about what’s happening here and make a commitment to changing lives. I think we all agree every child deserves the hope of a future he/she chooses regardless of where life placed them. I believe we also agree that as a community we are not better when some around us are left behind, of ill health, and suffering in poverty regardless of who’s choices got them there.
What does give local and be intentional mean for our community?
As the President of CFMC, there are times I get calls from people in the community asking me who they can support either through volunteering or by making financial donations. My first response is to find out what, or who, they’re interested in helping. Do you love animals? Do you want to support youth? Are you interested in helping those who are hungry?
That’s about when I tend to get a “pause” and they say that they’re not sure.
I know that if you connect with someone, or something, that you’re passionate about then you are much more likely to end up getting more involved, or, giving more donations. It’s where you want to help and it makes you feel good!
What a wonderful question to think about: I want to help but I’ve not thought much further than that I want to help.
Give Local is just that ideal. We want you to find areas that you’re passionate about in your life. You don’t have to donate to a clothing drive if that’s not the right fit. Rather, ask the question of what do I enjoy and how can I share that with others! Volunteer or donate to the student TV studio. Donate funding to support a modern arts after-school program with a trip to a museum. Fund or volunteer for a program in the skilled trades classes making robots.
It’s not about who’s asking you for your support. It’s about supporting those who are doing the things you want to support.
Be Intentional is about planning your giving and volunteering the same way you plan the other parts of your life. We all work on many schedules in life. Yet, we manage to find time for it all even if it doesn’t quite seem like it. We are intentional about fitting into our lives the things that matter to us.
Making a difference in our community is the exact same thing. If we want to shape and improve the things we’re passionate about while creating these same opportunities for others – why do we not plan for it? Being intentional about giving to others simply says that it’s as much a priority for us as any other aspect of our lives. Once we get into the habit of this intentional giving then it becomes a part of our lives.
Giving back has tremendous rewards and it often changes you more than your recipient! Make a charitable giving plan to support what matters to you in your community. If each of us gave more locally, and we were more intentional every week, or every month about it, I would suggest we could see amazing change happen in Morgan County in a very short amount of time.