We all walk through various phases of our life. Sometimes we are more able to see our blessings and find giving back easy, but sometimes we are also struggling to get by, and we may not readily realize how we can still give if we don’t have anything to give. To improve society, to make our communities stronger, and to keep the vital threads of philanthropy flowing throughout our nation, we must realize that we all have an obligation to give back.
The most important thing to understand is that anyone can give to their communities because if you do not have money, you can give your time or your voice. You can purchase a few canned goods at each grocery trip to give to the local food pantry. You can find a cause you are passionate about and reach out to organizations involved. You can support causes monetarily. You can become an advocate and speak up about the injustices you see. These are all excellent ways to give, but there is one that is often overlooked.
Colleges and Universities around the country are continually struggling to provide students with the best programs possible. I have spent many of my years at Cedar Crest College not realizing how vital donations are to the continuation of the college. In fact, I thought tuition would cover majority of the expenses of the college. It took a great deal of reading for me to realize that this institution of higher education relies on donations to help cover the expenses, growth, and betterment of the institution. I knew donors helped to provide scholarships for students because I was a lucky recipient, but I never realized how truly profound the gifts to the college are, and how they improve the services students receive, the science labs, the library, the health and wellness programs, the conferences, and so much more.
I look at the thriving community in which I live, and the city of Allentown is poised for growth as it is revitalized. This means more business, more jobs, and a brighter future. By giving to colleges and universities, people can help students gain the skills needed to enter the workforce, to initiate change in these growing economies, and to help make the revitalization of communities across the nation possible. It begins with Alums giving to their Alma Mater, which is a practice I will take part in because I believe in Cedar Crest College. It continues with businesses and organizations who stand to benefit from an improved workforce supporting their local colleges. Executives, community members, and alums coming together to support higher education will, in turn, benefit the community and everyone in it.
While it may be difficult to find the spirit of giving at times, there is always something to offer. Look within yourself, figure out what you are passionate about, and give. Don’t hesitate. The world needs change now, and we can all be a part of it. And, don’t forget the institutions of higher learning because that is where the greatest minds of business, science, law, and arts come from. This is where doctors and nurses emerge, where writers grow, where research in biology and neuroscience happens, and where the skills of business and finance are learned. When you give back, we all gain, including you!