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Nonprofit View: Give to local organization this holiday season

With Thanksgiving behind us now, the nonprofit organizations that help make our community such a good place to live and work go into overdrive to get everything done that needs to be done by the end of the year, reports to donors and grantors and projects with a finish-by date.

Not the least of these efforts go to helping the public understand how important their support, both financially and through volunteerism, is to all of us. I think I can speak for all of us nonprofits when I say that but for the legions of volunteers it takes to run a productive organization, many tasks that people expect and, maybe sometimes take for granted, would not or could not happen.

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Take, for example, the Boy and Girl Scouts leaders; the recreational council parent coaches; the people who man the phones at Rape Crisis Intervention Service; the Carroll Hospital volunteers; the people who mow the lawn at the Farm Museum; all the PTAs and PTOs that support elementary, middle and high school students well beyond what the public schools budget is each year; and let's not forget our faith community that runs food kitchens and pantries most days of the week and, of course, Carroll Food Sunday. Mission of Mercy provides medical aid to needy patients with mostly volunteer doctors and nurses. Carroll Pets in Need feeds cats and dogs, and Carroll Feral Cat Care keeps clowders of cats in check. It is impossible to overstate the value of our volunteers because in many cases, such as Carroll Food Sunday, Carroll Pets in Need, Carroll Feral Cat Care and most of the funds held by the Community Foundation of Carroll County, the organization is run entirely by volunteers.



But to make it work we all need to put on our humble hats and come to the community, the people of Carroll County, and make our cases for your financial support. As careful and perhaps a little fanatical as we all are about keeping expenses as low as possible, making ends meet is always a challenge.

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Let me suggest this to those of you about to make end-of-year gifts to your favorite charities. Give to those groups that do something that makes your heart sing or maybe they do something to fix something that makes you mad. Think globally but act locally. You may want to help veterans, and there are wonderful organizations working on that. But did you know that we have a local fund called Carroll County Heroes Foundation here at the Community Foundation that helps not only veterans but police, fire and emergency personnel who have been injured in the line of duty or the families of those who have died?

Many people think that it is the big foundations, corporations and government that make a difference for needy people, but that is not true. In 2015, more than 71 percent of all charitable giving came from individuals, people like you who are passionate about something. Please, this year check out some of our wonderfully productive and deserving local organizations and keep your donations here at home. We will all be better for it.

Audrey Cimino is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County.

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