“Culture for service, service for humanity.” If you are a member if the Divine Nine, you know that these organizations were meant to have your continued involvement beyond your college years, while instilling a spirit of giving back. For me, supporting charitable organizations is more than whom I will send money to this year, but whom will I give my time. I will be the first to admit, I hate getting impersonal emails asking me to donate to this or that. And as we head into the holiday season, I have no doubt my contact information will be bandied about, magically ending up on several mailing list asking me to donate now.
I have worked in nonprofits for many years and administration costs play an important role in any organization. I hear individuals complain how they do not want their donation going towards paying salaries. And I get it, you want your money going towards the cause. I would suggest looking up any charities financial reports before making a donation, so you can make an informed decision.
You can always choose to give money directly to a person on the street whom is clearly on hard times. But that seems like a band-aid approach, which might make you feel good in the moment. I personally try to look at giving in strokes that are both long and short-term.
Organizations specializing in research for a cure to some type of disease, like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, specify that 91 cents of every dollar spent goes toward breast cancer research and awareness programs. I think that is pretty remarkable. But you have to look at what speaks to you!
I recently attended a fundraiser called Artini, supporting Urban Gateways. The night included a silent auction with spoken word performances by Chicago Slamworks and a swing dance presentation by Margot Toppen and Riley Wimes, Jr. This event has been organized by the New Arts Forum for several years to engage young professionals in the work of Urban Gateways.
Urban Gateways offers arts programs by trained and experienced professional artists in music, dance, literary arts, visual arts, and digital media to engage youth. They collaborate with school teachers, administrators, and art specialists to work with children on a multitude of levels. With so many schools not providing arts education anymore, it means so much to have them step up to the cause. For me, the fundraiser really worked because you got a clear sense of what they do as an organization. The auction provided guests an additional opportunity to give beyond their ticket purchase, and you could see the engagement of their junior board who actively worked the event.
Art is an important part of our daily lives, that can sometimes be easy to take for granted. Just think of a world without music, a car ride with just silence, an empty Iphone, nothing but news on television, magazines with just text, empty walls, and robes with just a belt around your waist. Art is apart of our daily lives and we must encourage the talents of future generations.
The encouragement is not just on a creative level, but is also needed for the self-esteem of our youth. Glass Slipper project does not necessarily appeal to the artistic needs of future generations. However, it does appeal to the confidence of many young ladies. Each year, women in the Chicagoland area clear out their closets. Parting with cocktail and evening dresses they will never wear again for the purpose of making a young girl feel like a princess. It gives away prom dresses and accessories to high school Juniors and Seniors who would be unable to purchase their own prom attire.
Young girls start lining up hours before the doors open in anticipation of finding that special dress. To some, it might seem silly putting so much time and effort into a dress, but prom is one of those rights of passage. To not be able to go because of money is heartbreaking. For some girls, this will be their first time wearing a dress or heels. This will be their first time applying makeup. This will be the first time someone tells them they are pretty without wanting something from them.
Charities come in all forms. Some will appeal to helping fight against the social evils of the world. While others will help find a cure for a loved one. Sometimes you just have to open the email and do the