When Marni and I first talked about sharing why we give, she mentioned that why we give and why we are involved are not always synonymous. It really got me thinking about the difference between these two things, and what changed me from a board member that is involved, to a board member that gives, and one that gives in a meaningful way.
At 28 years old, time and energy feel unlimited. I have no kids, my life is my own, I can go, do, be, see anything I want; therefore, being involved is easy, it’s enjoyable, it is meaningful, and it takes no sacrifice.
But my money? Money is hard to come by. I don’t have unlimited opportunities to generate income, I’m a teacher ok?! So I have to be more cognizant of how I allocate my personal funds.
Last year during our Orange County retreat, we had a speaker who talked to us about Jewish philanthropy. He mentioned that Jews were the largest donors to education, the largest donors to the arts, and basically the only donors to other Jews. The only donors to other Jews are Jews? I never thought about this before, or what it meant for our slowly decreasing, already a minority population. A few hours later, I took my 2013 campaign donation and multiplied it by 10 for 2014. I am proud to say I have increased again for 2015.
Sure, I can be involved all day every day until the day I die. But without my contribution, without the contributions of our community, there would be no NV community BR bus-the bus that drove me around our homeland, the trip that gave me a new perspective on Jewish life, the trip I was so blessed to staff, and the trip that gave me a chance to stand 6 inches from Michael BenShimon and stare into his eyes. Without my contribution and the contributions of our community, who would assist our seniors at the most difficult time in their lives? Who would help send our children to Jewish camps and schools where they can connect with other Jews and be comfortable with who they are? Who would help our Holocaust survivors and provide resources for historical education? Where would our family services come from? Relief overseas? What would become of all of the people our federation provides services to?
I give because it helps create a better life for us and Jews around the world, and I give because if I don’t, it is possible that none of this will be here next year. I give because our Federation has 8% overhead and anything below 10% is something to brag about. So I know that when I give, our Federation is making it a priority to allocate as much of my donation to helping others as they can. AND, I give because it makes me feel amazing! Not just to know that I did something impactful but because I am lucky I have something in my life that I care about enough, that has changed me enough, that I believe in enough, that I WANT to give my hard earned money to. I give because this Jewish community and all it offers is our future.