A Holiday Message From Our Executive Director
December is that great month of feel-good traditions: family, food, music, and giving. The older I get, the more I understand and appreciate the secret side of giving, the joy of seeing it received. This applies not only to tangible things that can be wrapped up and tied with a bow, but also compliments, kindnesses and gifts of time.
My very first intentional giving experience was back in the 1990’s when I was working as an administrative assistant at a small elementary school in Colorado Springs. One of our first staff meetings included a presentation from Pikes Peak United Way, where a campaign volunteer spoke to us about the issues that they were working on, one of which was early childhood literacy in low-income neighborhoods, like mine. Literacy was an issue I cared deeply about and I knew I wanted to support their efforts. But our family had little disposable income: my husband was self-employed and I was juggling part-time jobs so I could be home with our kids after school. I was slightly embarrassed to turn in my dollar-a-paycheck pledge, and self-consciously apologized for not being able to give more.
I clearly remember her reply: “Philanthropy isn’t just for the wealthy. Every gift is important, no matter the size, because every single dollar takes a child or family a tiny step closer to success.” Light bulb moment! I was a philanthropist. Suddenly, I felt connected to my community, and invested in its achievements.
It was humbling. In giving, I was also receiving.
Thank you for your gifts to the community through United Way. May the holiday season bring you joy in the understanding that you have most certainly changed lives.
United Way of Mesa County