National Philanthropy Day, a day when thousands of people come together to celebrate the spirit of giving and to recognize the positive changes that everyday people can affect when they willingly serve others, will be celebrated on November 15.
First proclaimed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Philanthropy Day has spread to other countries. In 2012, Canada officially and permanently recognized Philanthropy Day. Communities from around the world have also taken up the mantle, hosting events that recognize donors and philanthropic efforts.
Philanthropic change begins at home.
One of the best ways you can celebrate National Philanthropy Day is to get involved and support local organizations that are working to make a difference. Here in the Tristate, there are many organizations to which we could call your attention— too many, in fact, to name here. A comprehensive guide of area non-profits is available over at GreatNonProfits.org.
Two organizations we'd like to call special attention to are the St. Rita School for the Deaf and ArtsWave.
The St. Rita School for the Deaf is a Catholic school serving the education needs of hearing-impaired individuals from early childhood through 21 years old. Founded in 1915 by Father Henry J. Waldhaus, with assistance from the Knights of del'Epee and the Saints Mary and Joseph Society, St. Rita features specially designed instruction, speech and language therapy, aural rehabilitation, sports and after-school programs for students with hearing impairments. Much support is needed to keep the school operational and viable far into the future.
ArtsWave, formerly known as the Fine Arts Fund, was founded in 1927 by the powerful Taft political family, according to its official history, "to further the musical and artistic education and culture for the people of Cincinnati." Over time, the organization's support expanded from its early mandate of funding the Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera, to include four other large arts organizations and smaller, niche organizations. Today, ArtsWave seeks support from the community "to be a leader and regional catalyst that works to advance the vitality and vibrancy of Greater Cincinnati."
National and international organizations are worthy of your support.
Positive change on a larger scale is needed, too, and there are many national and international organizations working to ensure it can happen. Giving to educational efforts, relief efforts and health-related charities is an excellent way to help improve the lives of many. Here are three organizations of which we are especially fond.
Help Educate Underprivileged Children
Reading is Fundamental (RIF) seeks to increase the literacy rate among America's children, provide access to books for our most at-risk populations, and to promote awareness of the necessity of a high literacy rate for the good function of our democracy. It is the largest children's literacy non-profit in the United States. In a nation where an estimated two thirds of low-income families own no books, RIF provides more than 15 million free books annually— through schools, after-school programs and Boys & Girls Clubs— to an estimated 4 million children, across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all US territories.
Additionally, it provides training in literacy education to staff members at childcare programs, and runs a family literacy program— Family of Readers— that helps parents with low literacy skills to "develop the skills and confidence to take a leadership role in their children’s reading, learning, and love of books."
Take a Stand against Diabetes
On the health care side, Diabetes Action is certainly a worthy organization. Founded in 1990, Diabetes Action "is committed to the prevention and treatment of diabetes and to the funding of innovative, promising research aimed at finding a cure for diabetes and diabetes related complications." It provides 300 annual research grants to universities and scientists who are seeking better treatments, prevention measures, or even a cure.
Given that 75% of US seniors have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and that the disease is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, it is of particular interest and concern to seniors to discover a cure. But a great amount of action is needed to turn the tide on this serious, debilitating illness.
Make a Difference in the Global Community
Lastly, with large-scale epidemics like the Ebola crisis and influenza pandemics making headlines in recent years, the critical role of the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders has been well documented. In 1999, the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its fearless, pioneering medical charity work.
Chartered in 1971 as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) by a group of young, French doctors, the organization has grown to include a large number of volunteer medical providers— doctors, nurses, medics, techs and pharmacist — from around the world provides "assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to victims of armed conflict." It provides essential medical care to all peoples in need, "irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political convictions." It has treated tens of millions of people in over 80 countries worldwide, often in the most dangerous conflict zones and in regions with dangerous, endemic diseases.
This National Philanthropy Day, consider volunteering your time.
In addition to the need for donations, many charitable organizations rely on volunteers to function day to day. If you cannot give money, your time will certainly be appreciated. And volunteering is an excellent way to get out, get active and meet other conscientious, concerned seniors living in Cincinnati. You can make a difference, here in Cincinnati or abroad. Start helping today.