As the year draws to a close, we find ourselves at a time-crucial juncture for both reflection and action. Year-end giving offers a unique opportunity to make a purposeful impact on the causes and organizations that matter most to us.
As a retired educator from Winograd K-8 School and advocate for teaching younger generations the importance of giving. I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of collective generosity, and the role of each individual in shaping a better future through their contributions.
While we navigate the complexities of our world, it is critical to recognize the potential for positive change that lies within our collective actions, and to consider the transformative influence that year-end giving can have on our community and the world at large.
The definition of giving refers to the following – Gift, the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Generosity, the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. Charity, the giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver.
There is a Chinese adage that says, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same idea. Happiness is found in helping others.
For any of the reasons mentioned above, it is important to give, but perhaps the most important is to develop a life filled with generosity. Such a life is wrapped in a habit defined by two attributes.
One of those attributes is embodied in freedom defined as the power to act or think as one wants without hindrance while the other is in the expectation of receiving nothing in return. In the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
Anyone of any age can be philanthropic. Giving involves acts of kindness, compassion, and selflessness toward others. Generosity goes beyond material possessions. It can include giving of one’s time, attention, support, or even emotional understanding. As Goldie Hawn shared, “Giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person”
Find your passion – which should be the foundation for giving. It’s only natural that we care deeply about certain causes over others, and that’s all right. It’s important to choose a cause that speaks to your heart. Also consider organizations with transparent aims and results.
In the words of Harvard scientist Michael Norton, “Giving to a cause that specifies what they’re going to do with your money leads to more happiness than giving to a cause where you’re not so sure where your money is going.”
Reflecting on the past year, perhaps you have already given through a monthly, quarterly or yearly pledge. Or you might be waiting for Colorado Gives Day, donations can be made now through Tuesday, December 5, 2023. On the other hand, you might not have given consideration to what you want your impact to be. In that case, please consider United Way of Weld County as a part of your year-end gift.
Harold S. Winograd was fond of saying, “Give until it feels good.” His maxim is worth remembering as giving decisions are made. Whether you are a child, a teenager, a young adult, a new giver, a regular donor, or a legacy donor, please remember Harold S. Winograd’s words and the difference that his continued philanthropy made for people in Greeley and Weld County.
Holly Bressler is a United Way of Weld County volunteer and Weld County community member.