First Friday Message

Cookies, Popcorn, Chocolates…oh, My!

If you have kiddos actively in your home or life right now, chances are that you’re immersed in the season of decadent fundraising campaigns. For years, I’ve tried to manage my cookie-monster demons by offering the Girl Scouts in my neighborhood cash donations in lieu of those tasty little boxes of joy that miraculously accumulate in my pantry. I’ll gladly support the cause, just don’t fuel my late-night snacking inclinations!

In our house, our daughter has become quite the fundraiser for her school’s American Heart Association campaigns. She developed a “’NO’ now means ‘YES’ later” mentality as she combed through every family member and most of our friends to meet and exceed her goals. And for a little girl who has tagged along with her dad for more YMCA events than either of us can count, I’m pretty proud of the servant’s heart that she’s developing.

Recently, I was reflecting on three stories that had come my way about extraordinary philanthropy. The first being a message from my alma mater that it had just surpassed its $5B (yes, BILLION) goal 18 months ahead of schedule with the support of over 230,000 donors. The second was a note from a friend in Pittsburgh about a $65M gift from two local philanthropists in support of the local Science Center. And the third was an update about one of our Central Florida neighbors who directed a $6,500 gift to our Y as part of his estate.

It’s easy to get caught up in the big numbers and big impact of transformational gifts. The generosity that propels those types of investments are the very foundation of many of our anchor community institutions. And when I see private donors lean in with the type of generosity recently shown in Pittsburgh, I easily draw the correlation to the many biblical references of sacrificial giving. But there’s something about the $6,500 gift that humbles and inspires me.

While not receiving the national fanfare of the other two gifts, this gift was made, arguably, with the same amount of sacrifice, if not more. The gift showed how this donor wanted to do his part to ensure that the Y will remain a powerful force for good for those that will follow him.

Regardless of the size of a fundraising effort, every dollar donated (and every box of cookies sold!) matters. A healthy philanthropic spirit is at the heart of every healthy and thriving community. And on behalf of every hard-working nonprofit agency in our region asking for your support, thank you all for your philanthropy, whether it be in the form of cookies, popcorn, cash, or chocolates…oh, My!

Until next time…

Kevin Bolding, President & CEO
YMCA of Central Florida

The Y. For a better us.®