This is why I get very excited for Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving.
I can donate as little as $25 and know that my donation has the opportunity to be bigger than that, just because I chose to donate TODAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012.
It’s not an easy time to donate for me, personally. Kurt and I have a huge financial commitment right now that has kept us running lean since early summer. It doesn’t feel like we’re going to be out from under it for several years. But we do put our change in jars, we do have enough to eat out once or twice a week, and I still get my hairy self waxed once a month.
But I added up what we spend on that eating out, on what we have in the change jar, on what I spend on that waxing. And we’re choosing to be a little more uncomfortable (and hairy) for October just so TODAY I can feel like my donations matter more.
I got my urgency and drive for giving from my mother. She never had much growing up, and sometimes her winters consisted of eating mostly onions and potatoes, their only Christmas gifts from charities. She tithed 10%, no matter what, before she paid bills, before she bought groceries, before we bought school clothes or toys, or anything else.
Mom always gave her 10% either to her church or to the charity which provided for her growing up, The Salvation Army. As I became involved in non-profit organizations, Mom would either split up her 10% between the church and those organizations, or go beyond her 10%. I saw her do this many times, without complaining about the things she didn’t have, or the things she wanted to do but believed more strongly that giving was more sacred than having.
I don’t have Mom’s faith. I lost mine years ago, and it isn’t something you can just will back into yourself. But I still believe in the kindness and goodness she raised me with. I believe in doing what I think is right, and I believe in giving directly to each organization I care about.
Today my small donations to my favorite non-profit organizations get to count for more. That’s because the Pittsburgh Foundation puts up a hefty amount to add to the donations. It lets YOU and ME decide which organizations we care about the most, and it adds to what we give them.
This year, there is $750,000 in the kitty from The Pittsburgh Foundation, and I hope we can have as much of that go toward our favorite non-profits.
So… I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite non-profits in today’s blog. After figuring out our October expenses we could live without, I could pick exactly 9 non-profits to give to. I feel grateful I could give to that many.
Even if my love interests aren’t yours, I hope you’ll find a minute today to give. It literally took me less than five minutes to get on the site, pick my charities and how much I wanted to donate, and check-out.
If you see me during October, and I look like an Ewok, please understand, I’m hairy for a cause. I’ll get groomed again in November.
MARLA’S 2012 PITTSBURGH DAY-OF-GIVING NON-PROFIT DONATIONS WENT TO:
We’re a local non-profit organization working to make it easy for you to get outside. We offer over 500 Public Programs a year including kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, fishing, cross country skiing, canoeing and geocaching trips. We have activities for all ages and skill levels, and travel to local, city, county and state parks around the region.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: They make me feel less insecure about trying new outdoor activities. Exercise became fun again.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is dedicated to combating breast cancer at every front. Up to 75 percent of the Affiliate’s net income goes toward funding grants to community hospitals and organizations that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically underserved women. The remaining net income (a minimum of 25 percent) supports the national Komen Grants Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational and scientific programs around the world.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: My friend Jean. My aunt Sarah.
Sisters Place serves all of Western Pennsylvania and has helped more than 200 families from homelessness into independent living. In 2011 we added five new families to our housing program bringing the total number of families that we are able to serve to 32. Over 90% of our families have transitioned safely into independent housing.
The need is great for housing and we are grateful to be able to help so many.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: Sister Mary Parks.
The mission of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures is to connect world class authors and their work with the local community and, in doing so, to elevate the quality of civic discourse in Pittsburgh through the presentation and discussion of the universal human values of literature. Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures currently produces three series of literary programs and selected special events, targeted to different audiences, but all with the same objective of encouraging an interest in the literary arts and in the lifelong pursuit of reading.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: As a student I was able to attend incredible lectures for $10 or less. I wanted to give that opportunity to other students.
The mission of the Monessen Public Library is to provide collections, facilities and services to the people of Monessen that will help them fulfill their need for information, research sources, cultural enrichment, and recreation.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: Just 10 minutes from our home in Lover, PA, I’ve researched and written in this library. I think they work very hard to make the community better. I also give to the Charleroi Library, but Washington County is not part of this Day of Giving.
Communities In Schools of Pittsburgh-Allegheny County (CIS) is a private, non-profit dropout prevention organization that is an affiliate of the nation’s largest stay-in-school network. The CIS Mission is to help young people successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for life. We achieve our mission through working in public schools, facilitating after-school programs, and through CIS-operated, state-approved non-traditional alternative educational academies.
CIS believes that every child needs and deserves: 1. A personal one-on-one relationship with a caring adult / 2. A safe place to learn and grow / 3. A Healthy start and a Healthy future / 4. A marketable skill to use upon graduation / 5. A chance to give back to peers and the community
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: I used to work at CISPAC and I saw firsthand the sincerity and intent of the staff.
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors. We provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that the writers can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. And we offer a broad range of literary programs in a community setting to encourage cross-cultural exchange. We anchor neighborhood economic development by transforming blighted properties into homes for these programs and energizing public spaces through public art with text-based components.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: I’ve been to readings by writers from around the globe. I’ve never left unchanged.
The mission of Autumn House Press is to publish and promote poetry and other fine literature.
Over the past several decades, for-profit publishers and even university presses have significantly reduced publication of literary works, due to economic pressures. Independent nonprofit presses like Autumn House now play a critical role in keeping the American literary tradition alive. Autumn House’s promotional and outreach efforts connect authors with the audiences they deserve — and bring the humanizing power of literature to individuals and to our culture as a whole. As a national press based in Pittsburgh, Autumn House also serves as an ambassador for this region, helping to re-shape its image and to communicate its importance as a center for literary and artistic excellence.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: 1. Caroline Tanski 2. The Working Poet (my favorite book of poetry exercises)
To ensure the well being of companion animals, while ending overpopulation, abuse and unwarranted euthanasia.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL: I think they’re doing more to educate the public and protect animals than any other animal non-profit in Pittsburgh.
Please take 5 minutes and give to YOUR favorite non-profit TODAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012.
It’s really easy. Just click the logo below: