Thursday, May 22, 2014

Give Big and Leverage Dollars

Thermometer is up over 90%. This has a lot to do with the Seattle Foundation's Give BIG event. It's a good time to give, because it allows you to stretch your money a little farther by accessing the stretch pool. More than $13 M were donated this may to local nonprofits. It's pretty awesome.

I'm starting efforts to fundraise for the SummeRun 5K again this year, and hoping to get in some trail work with friends to get the last bit done.

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't starting to feel like a bit of a slog. Now we are talking deadlines, which are much less sexy. But I'm relieved to know that I'm actually on track to make this deadline (even if plan B is to donate the remaining money in July. It's now a number I can almost afford.)

I think that overall the impact of the project has been good. It's forced me to think about how I want to spend my time and money, and the various ways that those choices affect me and the people around me. And it's helped me to find ways to include charitable work and giving into my normal routine. I now ALWAYS say yes when a cashier asks me if I want to donate a dollar to the foodbank, MS society, cancer research, or what have you. I seek out girl scouts, boy scouts, and campfire kids to help their fundraising. I know how to connect homeless kids to services, thanks to Friends of Youth. I can also cook for a crowd. I make a budget for charitable giving. (Which is cool, because I have enough money I can comfortably share some of it- making me feel double awesome.) I've been able to talk with my friends and family about charitable work and giving, which previously seemed uncomfortable (it's only uncomfortable because no one has any idea what they are supposed to do).

I still struggle with the question of what is best in terms of my time and money. Food bank or Red Cross? Are 5Ks a legit form of "charitable giving"? What about other organizations that do cool and important work, like scholarship funds, animal shelters, or community services? I'm trying not to over think it now. I want to live in an interesting, safe, and vibrant community. That means I support the work of a lot of different kinds of people, mostly because I want to know that those kinds of people are around. One cool thing about giving is that it isn't all or nothing. I can give some dollars to the cat shelter, some dollars to the homeless shelter, some dollars to the community center, and all of this is good. I'm not stressing myself out about whether it is all equivalently good. If I feel compelled to help, I'll help.