Y’know, there’s just so much negativity now-a-days. Nobody likes the president, or the congress, or their neighbors, or the refugees…it’s all a big dump-fest on good things that happen every day. Not blaming, but I’m trying to think of how we can turn this whole world around.
What makes you happy? When you get right down to it, what makes you happy? Think for a minute…and then smile. Really smile.
Almost 20 years ago, I started working for this little company named Blackbaud. They made software for non-profit organizations. We were 300 employees strong, and we did good things. That company (I co-incidentally still work for) has grown exponentially over the past 20ish years (it’s 19 but who’s counting?) and we aren’t just doing good things, we do great things. Our software helps organizations raise billions of dollars to….comfort the afflicted, house the homeless, feed the hungry, rescue the forgotten, teach the next generation of the world. I work there every day. The organizations we work with do great things with the software we build (implement, train, support, customize, upgrade, market, etc). It’s mind boggling.
So why am I telling you all this? Because tomorrow (if tomorrow is Tuesday) is GIVING TUESDAY. We’ve survived Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Now it’s time to pause and give back. What organizations touch you? And by touch you I mean right THERE? You know where I mean – touch your heart. Make you tear up. Make you want to drop everything and help. What organizations scream out YOUR message?
I’ll tell you about mine.
Let’s start with Salem State University. I can’t say that while I was at Salem State I knew what kind of an impact it would have on me. But that’s because I really didn’t know what I would be doing with my B.A. in English (with a minor in Music and 24 credits in Business…I used to say that very proudly…) after graduation. I really had no idea. People always asked me if I were going to teach. Well, based on my desire to do NOTHING like my parents had done in their lives (long story…I have seen the error of my ways), I always said NO! I’LL NEVER TEACH! But ultimately, I moved around the country, landed in the Carolinas, at this small company…teaching….software. And then, I started….WRITING. About that software – writing – TRAINING CLASSES. So, there we go. I come full circle. I, the English major, am finally using my degree. That could be my story but it’s not. My story is an offshoot of my father’s story. For 25 years, he was a music professor at Salem State College. 1969-1994. He lived to reach the minds of those who came to his classes. He really cared about those students who took any of his classes – whether or not they passed with flying colors, or failed miserably. He cared. And, he was passionate about vocal music – college chorus, voice class, musical theater…he took it very seriously. And his students knew it. They…we…gave everything we could during our performances – even those off the cuff type performances Christmas caroling at a local mall, or at The House of Seven Gables. He cared. His students gave him a gift that I feel very strongly about – they put together a scholarship in his name. The scholarship was, at the time, for a music minor. Well, since he retired, Salem State became a University…and they have a music MAJOR. And the scholarship is awarded to a student who is a music major (or minor, I believe…) The scholarship is now a passion of mine. I find it vital that my dad’s name be attached indefinitely to Salem State, the music department, and music as a passion. He gave his heart to Salem State College, and now I continue to support SSU with a monthly gift…and I will give again on #GivingTuesday.
Want to donate? Click here: https://participate.salemstate.edu/comprehensive-campaign-giving-page and specify in the Direct My Gift to Support field: Antone J. Aquino Memorial Scholarship
That’s my first organization.
My second is Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. Crazy me, I got all involved in this silly thing called animal rescue – before GPA Charleston existed, I volunteered for the John Ancrum SPCA, now known as the Charleston Animal Society. And I saw what animal rescue was. Well, being a lightweight…I decided that I wanted to work in breed rescue – and with a bunch of other crazy people (and animal/greyhound lovers) formed the first greyhound adoption agency in Charleston, SC. Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. That was in 2003. Here it is, 2015, and the group is still going strong…finding forever homes for retired racing greyhounds in Charleston and all along the Carolina coast. So…I support them not only donating money, but also my time.
I went on and on about Salem State – I’ll only bore you a bit about Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. Here’s some food for thought:
- As a non-profit, we are 100% volunteer run. There is no salary overhead.
- Even our “overhead” costs (and I’ll be very transparent – phone, storage unit, Post Office Box are the fixed costs…the variables are the dog-related costs including but not limited to transport and vet fees from our sources in Florida, foster food, toys, and treats, and vet costs…) are all related to the dogs – the phone is only used for greyhound related stuff, storage unit holds our foster supplies and event supplies, and post office box is for only greyhound stuff…of course all the dog related overhead is, well…dog related.
- We do one annual fundraising event, which brings in around $1000-$1500. It barely covers our cost for two dog shipments.
- We supplement our income by using a donation bucket on the table at meet-a-greyhound events all over the low country.
- We do not make any money from the adoption of a greyhound – fee to adopt is $250. Each dog costs approximately $300 – 500 minimum ($200 is the fee to bring the vetted dog up from Florida….)
So, while we have not raised our adoption fee, our costs have increased exponentially along with inflation.
We don’t get the flash of local cameras, or the write up of other local rescues. We rely on our adopters to give back…But if just a few others could chip in…we would be really appreciative!
- $10 buys heartworm preventative for 1 foster dog
- $25 buys a bag of food for 1 foster dog or heartworm and flea control for 1 foster dog
- $50 buys food, heartworm, and flea control for one dog
- $75 buys all the above, a toy, and a box of treats for one foster dog
- $100 buys food, heartworm, and flea control, and a vet check-up for a foster dog
See where I’m going with that?
Want to help? Click here: www.adoptcharlestongreys.org (look for the Make a Donation button on the lower left side)
It’s all about giving back. It really doesn’t have to be monetary – but this one day a year, a gift would be helpful. Life really is beautiful, and giving on #GivingTuesday or any day really helps good take over. Take a few minutes this #GivingTuesday and feel good about something – feel good about helping.