So I'm going to get on my fundraiser pedestal for a few moments here.
Obviously our economy is in a bad way right now, and it affects - or will soon affect - each and every one of us at some level. As a professional fundraiser, I'm feeling the burn of the economy and the affect that it will have on NPO's not only in my community, but all over the country. Non-profits will be suffering in a bad way due to corporations cutting community giving, and major donors simply not having the liquid assets available to give as they usually would.
Even the most consistent givers may be cutting, or even eliminating, their general operating support this year and in future years because they no longer have the funds to give. Non-profits rely on consistent unrestricted, general operating support in order to survive. People are panicking, and I will not be surprised to see small non-profits in this community and elsewhere fold in the next year, if they do not have comfortable cash reserves to see them through this tough economic time.
At Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities we provide arts programming and a library with homework assistance and programs to the Grandville Avenue neighborhood in SW Grand Rapids that is 73% Hispanic and 11% African-American. The poverty rate is 26.7%, compared to 14.7% for the City of Grand Rapids and 8.2% for Kent County. A total of 66% of adults 18-64 years old do not have a high school diploma, as opposed to 22% in the city and 15.4% in the county. 96% of the children who attend public school in the neighborhood qualify for the federal lunch program. Without us, these children won't finish school, they won't attend college, and they won't succeed as productive members of society.
And its not just us that will suffer. Arts organizations such as symphonies and operas can't make ends meet without ticket sales - and you can be sure that those will decrease in the next year or so. Shelters and missionary organizations rely on our dollars and donations to feed, shelter, and clothe the hungry. YMCA's provide programming, tutoring, and support for youth, children, and families across America. Without community financial support, these organizations cannot continue to serve and enrich our country.
I want to urge you, as responsible citizens, to make community giving a priority in your lives. I appreciate that its a tough financial time for all of you individually and as families, but if you can afford to live then you can afford to give. If you don't give already - don't be intimidated. Charitable giving does not have to be big and scary - in this economic climate, a little really does go a long way. A worthwhile charitable gift is one that is significant to you based on your income, lifestyle, family, etc. To some people $25 is significant, to some $2,500 is significant, and so on.
If you are interested in learning more about charitable giving, and how it can best serve the community, the nation, and YOU (don't forget about those tax deductions if you're giving to a 501c3 non-profit) please please PLEASE drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org I can't even begin to tell you how strongly I feel about sustaining our community through charitable giving - it's so important!
Thanks for reading.