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Givin' Time

For better or worse, my family is on an annual giving schedule for the charitable organizations that we support the most.  Each year, we mail off checks to these organizations, and I tend to do all of this in December.  And, this year, today's the day.  Which makes me think about giving.

How much will you and your family spend on your holiday giving this year?  $250?  $500? $1000?  $2000 or more?  Don't forget to include the money for nice holiday parties and holiday travel.  Not to mention those crazy holiday clothes that some people buy.  We should all be thankful that we can afford to spend money to celebrate the season and to give gifts to those we know and love.

How about spending a bit less this year and giving some money to those who have nothing?  It's hard for me to enjoy the holidays unless I know that I have done something to give a little holiday cheer to those who would otherwise have no holiday celebration at all.  And, the ones most affected by this are children who aren't at fault for their family's troubles and don't understand why they don't get a few toys when they see and hear about all the gifts being given this year.

My favorite charity for this is Boston Globe Santa.  Long time friends and Fein Line readers will know that I support Globe Santa because they spend all the money they receive giving toys to children whose families face hardship.  All the recipients are vetted to make sure they are worthy.  All the administrative costs are borne by the Globe.  And, all of your donation goes to where it should -- giving children a bit of holiday cheer to help them maintain some hope for their future.

As I flip through the envelopes about to be mailed to our various charities, I see some themes -- support for education, the advancement of culture to keep our lives enriched, keeping the world peaceful and disease-free, and help for the very poorest who have no way to help themselves.  Each of you have your own giving priorities, shaped by your own interests and experiences. 

In the past I have done a Globe Santa match, but this year I'd just like to invite you all to think about your giving priorities and find some organizations that you feel are worthy of your regular support.  There are so many worthy causes that I don't think it's productive for me to try to convince you to support Globe Santa at the expense of something else that's important to you.

If you agree with me that Globe Santa is worthy of your support, give here.  If you've got other priorities, I'd like to invite you to cut back a bit on the spending you are doing for yourselves and give a bit more to your favorite organizations that need your support.  I'm on the Board of several non-profits, both local and national.  I can tell you that the economic environment is having a big impact on their ability to achieve their mission.  You can do something about it.  So, get into the giving habit, even if you primarily give in December as I do when I think about the holidays.

As has been said many times -- Don't give until it hurts; give until it feels good!

Happy holidays!

PS - If you want to promote your favorite charities, you can list them in the comments as I've done.


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Bernard, you are exactly right that giving time is critical. It's hard for a lot of people to do, but I get much more out of the time I give to non-profits vs. the money I give. The money is important, and it's 'easier' for people to part with their money than their time. But, if you can spare the time, I'd recommend that, too!


I think giving time is the most important of all. I'm fortunate that my 7 year old is always appreciative of time I spend with him, it's a good reminder. Spending time with folks who are struggling is good, or giving to your local food pantry is important. From everyhing I hear, the food pantries are overwhelmed.

My favorite charities to support, in alphabetical order:
American Repertory Theater, Bedford Education Foundation, Beta Theta Pi Foundation, The Carter Center, Globe Santa, MIT, WBUR, WGBH. Checks going out today!

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