For those who donate — time, effort, goods, services or funds – Nov. 15 is a day to celebrate.
In its third year, the date is designated as National Philanthropy Day, a day created for those in the community to reflect on and celebrate philanthropy as a whole, explained Norman Carruthers, president of The Comox Valley Community Foundation.
“ … at its root, (philanthropy) is a love of humanity, a sense of caring; both as a giver and a receiver. We want to celebrate that,” he explained.
It is estimated there are 1.5 million people in the province who volunteer, and more than 13 million aged 15 or older who volunteer across Canada.
Carruthers explained there are many ways to think about volunteers, whether it’s volunteering time at a non-profit organization, participating in a ‘one-time’ event to raise funds such as a charity walk/run, or a ‘flash volunteer’ who participates in a clean-up or similar event, often organized via social media.
He added volunteers can also be parents who drive their children and friends to sports and recreation, or offer time and experience coaching and teaching.
“They don’t get enough credit. We need to look at people’s roles in the volunteering sector and how they change over time. We need to adapt and suit the needs of the changing population.”
While the role of volunteering or philanthropy may be changing, Carruthers noted there is a 50 per cent increase in the amount of volunteer opportunities – 1,400 – at Volunteer Comox Valley.
While celebrating the day, he added it also serves as a time to reflect upon the opportunities to do more.
Philanthropic leadership is one of the three primarily roles of The Comox Valley Community Foundation, along with raising funds and granting earnings to community organizations.
While some non-profit groups offer more immediacy with their impact, the foundation offers what Carruthers calls “a lasting impact.”
At its root, the foundation is dedicated to improving the community by pooling charitable gifts from donors to create endowment funds while using the investment income to make grants.
Supporting, not competing
He explained they are not competing with other organizations, rather, they support the non-profit sector.
“Those groups are doing the leg work. We think it’s important to give credit to those groups and individuals who are out there every day who are doing it,” he said. “It’s friends helping friends, all in the spirit of the love of humanity.”
Carruthers said there’s three easy steps for anyone to follow who may be thinking about philanthropy, whether it be through time, money or otherwise.
“First, identify what you’re passionate about. If you’re excited, you’ll see the impact and it will give you value in life. Secondly, don’t wait to asked. If you can spare a half-hour a week, or some time in a day, it will leave you with a terrific feeling.”
The third step, Carruthers noted, is to participate by jumping in with both feet and with trust.
“So much in the non-profit sector is trust-based,” he explained.
“The community is you, and you are the community.”
For more information about the Comox Valley Community Foundation, visit www.cvcfoundation.org, or for volunteer opportunities, visit Volunteer Comox Valley at www.volunteercomoxvalley.ca.