My Year of Giving

My year of giving all started with a random drawing. I don’t enter these things often, but this one really appealed to me. In addition to receiving a Tiffany’s gift certificate, the winners also got to designate a $100 donation to the charity of their choice. Jewelry and charity — it sounded like a winning combination to me!

And lo and behold I won. I bought a beautiful silver heart necklace, and the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative received a $100 donation on my behalf. I chose that charity because my friend Echo supports it. It’s a great organization — they help kids who are homeless, in foster care, or who are living in high poverty prepare for college.

And then the little wheels in my head began to turn. I reasoned that since I easily waste $100 a month, that money could be put to much better use if I donated it to a worthy cause. But how do I find these causes? And then it hit me — I’ll let my friends choose them. And that’s exactly what I did. Over the course of 2014, I donated $100 every month to an organization or cause that one of my friends supported or benefited from. In the end I think it worked out great.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this to toot my own horn. Instead I’m sharing my story in hopes that some of my friends will do the same thing next year. Granted it doesn’t have to be $100 — give whatever you can afford. Or if you can’t afford to give cash, give of your time — everybody needs volunteers. And if you can’t give, then simply share my story, so others will be encouraged to give.

In any case, here’s how my donations played out on a month-by-month basis. I’m going to do the same thing in 2015, and I invite everyone to join me. We can make a difference — one person at a time. Continue reading