Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Charitable Involvement

This was my post from last week on the HFC Blog, but I liked it, so I decided to repost here too.

I like to check in with Charity Navigator Trent Stamp's blog on a frequent basis. This week, he posted a link to an article in Money Magazine educating donors how to be efficient in both their monetary donations and volunteerism for charities.

I think the point of the article is reminding people to find the passion in what they are commiting to. Get involved with a charity (doesn't have to be this one, though we love to have you!) because it means something to you. Doing something out of obligation never is effective.

For me, I had to narrow it down. I run a charity, so that means I tend to have a bleeding heart. I watched American Idol's show Idol Gives Back and like the rest wanted to reach for my phone and get to calling for my donation. I have been fortunate to attend many charity events in the last few years. I have not found many charities that aren't doing good works for good causes. But, I just can't give to them all.

So, this past year, I narrowed down my list. Naturally, Heroes for Children is my largest charity involvement. Well, it does pay my salary! But, and this is the more important part--it is what means the most to me. I love the cause and I love to see the positive effects of the dollars to the families. It is hard for me to give money to any other group. With the exception of very small donations to support friends or family (such as a donation to my mother in law's Team in Training run last year). But, I do volunteer my TIME, which I feel is just as important in many cases, to a different group other than Heroes for Children.

I've been fortunate to be the Arts & Crafts staff member (Director this summer--yikes!) for Camp Discovery, a week long cancer camp for kids 7-16 from San Antonio, Dallas (Medical City Children's Hospital only) and Austin. The camp is funded by the American Cancer Society and free for all campers. Since January, I have attended monthly planning meetings to help in the coordination of camp. Camp is in two weeks and I can't wait! I spend one exhausting week with kids, working in the A&C room to create woodworking projects, lanyard necklaces, and fuse bead art. I even suffer through my least favorite activity--tye dying--and participate in the ever disgusting "Jello Wars."

For me, it was about finding what means the most and sticking to just those. Heroes for Children and Camp Discovery have my heart. What has yours?


Dana said...

Hey, Jenny, I really liked this blog entry. It's my biggest problem: trying to give everything to all causes until I have nothing left to give, even to those near and dear to my heart. That's where I'm at now, I'm dry, but I want to get involved again. I generally get involved with the Humane Society and I'm hoping to run a 1/2 marathon, probably with Team In Training, a year from October! (or in the spring if my "cancer mom" friend decides to do it with me still)

Tracy said...

I love this entry. I feel this is a big problem for so many people. My heart was with LLS until something happened and truly spoiled it for me. But before that happened, that took all of my extra money with nothing left to donate, but I did have my time. I donated my time to the Autism walk. I helped sell T-Shirts. It is a great cause and something that really needs funding to find the cause of this disease.

Now my money is spread between many different groups again until I find one that I can back with all my heart. Here in NY we have the Cory Noah Foundation that is similar to Heroes for Children. I just wish they did as much as you, Larissa and the rest of your amazing staff did.

Thanks for the reminder of finding your passion.

Anonymous said...

This entry is amazing! I like how you said you volunteer your TIME because that most certainly is important! There are a few charities that have my heart as well- I am glad that Heroes for Children and Camp Discovery have your heart! Beautifully said as usual!

Kelly said...

Jenny, I've just discovered you blog, after reading/looking at your family site now for 4 years (I am from BBC).
I have to be honest and say that since becoming a mom, I have not been able to financially support anything...hardly myself! I never really even thought about the giving of my time. I am so glad you posted this and I am now going to have to search for a cause close to my heart. I am not sure yet, what that will be. But I have some time to give and I think it would be a good lesson to teach to my children as well.
Jenny, you are and amazing woman and I admire ALL that you do. :)