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Editorial: Carroll's generosity highlighted

Not to be redundant with what was published in Monday’s Nonprofit View, where various Carroll County charitable organizations thanked the community for its generosity, but the Times would also like to thank the community for its willingness to give to help others.

Carroll is one of the most generous communities around and we have the data to back it up. A recent study from SmartAsset, a financial technology company, used IRS data to measure how much people donate as a percentage of their net income, and the proportion of people in a given county who made charitable donations. Carroll County ranked among the most charitable jurisdictions in Maryland. About 86.5 percent of Carroll residents make a charitable donation during the year, and contributions total about 22.5 percent of income.

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On Christmas Day, we wrapped up the 20th Holiday Hope giving campaign, where the Times uses its reach to help various charities in the community raise money as the year comes to a close. This year, we raised $132,676 among the five partner charities — The Shepherd’s Staff, Human Services Programs Neighbors in Need Year Round, Carroll County Food Sunday, Carroll Hospice and Access Carroll – in about a month’s time.

Because the community has been so generous, we’ve been able to raise the bar each year, setting the goal a few thousand dollars higher. And each year, the community continues to respond by meeting that goal, often with time to spare.

We must admit, sometimes we get quite nervous around the office about meeting this goal. Over the last few years, we opted to raise the goal by $5,000. This year, because it was the 20th year of Holiday Hope, we opted to set the goal at $120,000, which was $10,000 higher than a year ago. And this year, with changes in the federal tax laws, we worried if that might affect charitable giving. On days when just a few donations trickle in, we worry about whether we’ll hit the mark, but keep the faith that the community will respond.

Honestly, we have the easiest job of them all in this process. Acting as a facilitator to raise awareness is easy. Making the decision to part with your hard-earned money, especially for folks who might not have it so good themselves, is not. Neither is the incredible work being done by these charities and their numerous volunteers.

That’s why we need to keep supporting them.

Traditionally, people are in a giving mood around the holidays. But often, that giving spirit fades during the early part of the year. Why is this? Well, for one thing, people might be a little short on cash, after spending money on Christmas presents and donations in December. It also isn’t as front of mind when there isn’t a person ringing a bell in front of your neighborhood Walmart or a daily article published at the bottom of your community newspaper’s front page.

But the need remains year-round. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to help monetarily. For many organizations, man hours are just as, if not more, helpful to achieving that charity’s mission. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, perhaps resolving to volunteer even just a few hours or a few extra hours this year would be a good, achievable goal. Every bit helps.

Again, we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated to our Holiday Hope campaign, but also everyone who gave money or time to a charity this year, and hope you consider doing so again next year. You are what makes Carroll County such a great place to be.

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