Two concerns often keep me up at night. The first is whether or not United Way and its partners have the resources needed to help our neighbors regain stability for being fully engaged community members.
The second is how we as a community will come out of the pandemic years. Will we keep to ourselves or will we again work with our more vulnerable community members as they seek opportunity?
Encouraging generosity is a primary activity for me. Each day I hope that we all choose generosity. Can we give 30 more minutes of our time? Five extra dollars? A listening ear when helpful? Can we slow down and offer a bit more attention when and where it’s needed most?
There is a saying: “Generosity begets generosity.” I believe it. If I am generous towards someone, that person will be generous towards others. Through generosity we become more active members of our businesses, our service clubs, our faith communities and more.
We as a community are in transition. Coming out of the pandemic, we have fewer commitments. Volunteerism is down. Charitable giving is flat. To address this, I’d ask that you consider putting “increase generosity” on your New Year’s resolution list. How might we do this?
I see three big categories for how we become more generous: generosity of vision, generosity of purpose and generosity of resources.
Generosity of Vision
Time after time when I take personality tests I come up as future-oriented and visionary. So generosity of vision is not difficult for me. I am dreaming of a future for Weld County that includes enough opportunity for us all. For children, youth, families and older adults. Would you dream with me, so that together we can bring about such a future?
Generosity of Purpose
How do we intend to bring about such a dream for our community? How do we align it with our purpose, for the reasons that we get out of bed each morning? Practicing generosity of purpose does not mean that we all need to work for nonprofit organizations or give 100s of hours of volunteer service each year. Rather, it means we can think a little harder about how we go about our days, be it at work or school or home or church, and then align our activities towards creating a better Weld County for us all.
Generosity of Resources
This one is pretty clear and easy to do. We can be generous with our resources. We can give of our money and other assets so that the work being done by United Way and its partners can be fully funded. We are eager for you and the whole community to support these efforts.
Overall, I hope that we in Weld County can become more generous by re-engaging in the work of making our community the place that it can be. Let’s volunteer at the food bank. Let’s build affordable housing. Let’s vote. Let’s attend civic and faith community events. Let’s donate to United Way or to any local nonprofit that you care deeply for.
Even more, let’s think big. Let’s end homelessness. Let’s connect more youth with caring adults. Let’s create community spaces for increasing physical activity and health. Let’s solve our greatest challenges.
With increased generosity we can accomplish the community building that needs done. United Way and its partners know what to do. Let’s be generous and do it together.
Melanie Woolman is the United Way of Weld County president and CEO.