Editorial: Give because giving is needed
It’s nothing more than the change in your pocket or the collection of loose coins on your dashboard. It’s the hour you usually spend watching television at night. It, in case your wondering, is your chance to give back to the community.
As holiday consumerism rears its well-fashioned head, we should all remember to give back to the community that gives us so much. In fact, never has there been more need in our county than today.
Lee Zimmerman, executive director of The Summit Foundation, said giving to the county’s largest nonprofit has been up this year. So has the Family and Intercultural Resource Center’s giving. Both are reasons to celebrate.
Yet, Zimmerman also added a sobering point: Usually, the Foundation grants 65 percent of the requests it receives. This year, even with giving on the rise, they were only able to facilitate 46 percent of the requests, a reminder that while the giving is good, we need to do more just to keep up.
Add in the fact that Breckenridge lost the House with the Red Door in the last year, and more of a crunch has been placed on charitable organizations. The Angel Tree program in Silverthorne has seen a decrease of 50 percent in giving this year. As Sgt. Hanschmidt said with the Silverthorne police, “I don’t know if it’s the economy or what else. I’m not sure … Gosh, the bottom line here is, we’re just trying to give money away to a good cause.”
According to the Colorado Nonprofit Association study, Colorado as a state has a giving gap compared to the rest of the country. Coloradans earn 6 percent more than the average American, yet give 8 percent less in charitable contributions.
The study also said that while those with incomes less than $50,000 give the highest percent of their income to charity ” 5.2 percent ” those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 gave just 3 percent.
Guilt trips aside, the bottom line is, our county’s demand for low-income assistance is increasing, and not in proportion with the county’s philanthropy. There is no better time than now to think about that fact, and decide whether to help, or ignore, the situation.
And for those competitive folks, here’s another sobering fact: The small town of Manassa in Conejos County, population just over 1,000, led all cities and towns in Colorado. Donors there gave 9.7 percent of their income to charity, more than three times that of the average Summit County resident.
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