Fitness is first on many lists of New Year’s resolutions, but there are other ways to foster a measurably happier, healthier 2022 – starting with philanthropy! It turns out that the act giving not only benefits the people and community around you; it’s been proven to boost happiness, reduce stress, and even lower blood pressure in the same way that a new exercise routine can. Read on for some things to consider if you are ready for a philanthropic refresh.
Find your passion.
Philanthropy at its best is meaningful for all parties. If your giving has become routine, take time to think about what sparks joy. Do you love going to performances and art exhibitions? Cultural organizations like Single Carrot Theatre, Jubilee Arts and The Creative Alliance have lost event and class revenue during the pandemic and need support now more than ever. Are you thrilled when neighborhoods are full of life with festivals, community gardens and greenspaces? BCF’s Fund for Neighborhoods supports community-based programs and projects across the city. Is your kitchen filled with the scent of new foods and flavors because you love to cook? Consider giving to The Franciscan Center, which served more than 200,000 meals to low-to-moderate income families last year. Or Black Girls Cook, which addresses food access and health equity by engaging girls of color in urban farming and cooking classes.
Diversify your giving.
The pandemic underscored the need to support diverse-sized organizations in order to make a tangible impact. When the COVID-19 crisis erupted, large institutions struggled to address issues ranging from food insecurity to insufficient broadband on their own. Many turned to community-based organizations like The Movement Team and Elev8 Baltimore for their on-the-ground expertise and ability to identify and support children and families most at risk. However, without directing funds to the large established organizations, like the Maryland Food Bank, who already had the infrastructure in place, it is unlikely we would have been able to address food insecurity on such a large scale. It takes partners at all levels to weave together a comprehensive web of support for Baltimore’s communities.
See the impact.
Volunteering is a great way to see the breadth of an organization’s work, who they serve and how your gifts are making an impact. Organizations like ShareBaby, which gathers baby supplies and gear for families in need, and Civic Works, which undertakes a variety of environmental and community development projects across the city, are still welcoming volunteers in person under added safety protocols. Another organization, Baltimore Hunger Project, offers volunteer activities that can be completed at a distance, such as making snack bags for kids. No time to volunteer? Many organizations are active on social media and regularly share updates on their work. Follow their accounts and be sure to share posts when you can to spread the word!
Cultivate a community.
Sharing your philanthropic passions with others is a win-win. First, there’s always the chance that you might inspire more support for a cause you care about. Second, and just as importantly, you might hear thoughts and ideas that could benefit the organizations you support. For example, you might learn about other nonprofits that could multiply impact if they were working together.
The best resolution by far, of course, is simply to make a gift and keep giving. As always, BCF staff is available to offer insights if you’re not sure where to start. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410.332.4171 to make a plan.
Happy New Year!