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Illustration of a box that says "let's help together." Above the box are hands with hearts reaching toward the box

I joined the world of philanthropy just 4 short years ago. Since November 15th is National Philanthropy Day it seemed like a good time to reflect.

Philanthropy is a Greek word that means ‘to love people’. In celebration of that love for people, some interesting foundation facts to note:

  • AWS Foundation(AWSF) is one of 1,200 foundations in Indiana
  • Those Indiana foundations gave over $2 billion in the last reporting year
  • AWSF awarded $12,585,274 dollars in 2021 to support organizations in building a more inclusive Northeast Indiana
  • Since 2007 AWSF has supported more than 190 not-for-profit organizations
  • AWSF has a staff of 8 dedicated individuals, with a board 14 members strong
  • Thanks to the Lilly Foundation, Indiana is the only state that has a community foundation in every county (94 of them), which makes up 13% of the nation’s community foundations (go Indiana!)

When I came to AWSF I had no idea of the depth/breadth of the foundation world. My eyes have been opened to needs that I never knew existed. I have learned not to take for granted my ability to get to and from where I need to go (transportation), live in a safe and affordable home (housing), work at a job I not only chose, but that I love (education & employment), and belong to my community in whatever way I wish (social enrichment). Seeing the disparity in each of those parts of life has secured my belief in both the tremendous needs and challenges that philanthropy faces to support communities

As I reflect on National Philanthropy Day, I am exploring ways each of us could support philanthropic efforts. Here are some things I think we can all do in support of our communities and ‘to love people’:

  • Use our social network to speak out and share both needs and efforts
  • Ask friends and family to make a birthday donation on our behalf to a local non-profit
  • Donate supplies or gently used items
  • Volunteer our time
  • Shop online with charitable platforms

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead