A giving community is a fulfilled community

By Kristine Bugayong

We all have different ways of giving or giving back. Most of us share our hard-earned dollars to charity, and some of us devote our time to causes that matter to us dearly.

We share our time, our expertise in order for others to enjoy a better quality of life. Most of us do acts of kindness—to our family, our friends, co-workers or even strangers. Giving or giving back is second nature to most of us. In fact, when asked what one would do if they suddenly become wealthy, the most common answer is “To give to charity”.

We also have different reasons to give. One of the reasons we give back is to express gratitude and appreciation for benefits received elsewhere, to ‘pay it forward’. We give to say ‘thank you’ for the kindness that has come our way. All of us, whatever the intention might be, give out of the goodness of our hearts. Charity, philanthropy or generosity is never forced, never imposed.

Here in our community, the spirit of giving is alive and well. Central Albertans have proven time and time again, that when someone is in need, whether in our own backyard or on distant shores, we are always ready to extend a hand and to share whatever we have. Recent events, such as the floods in southern Alberta this year have shown the capacity of our community to give and to reach out.

Giving is an essential component of community building.

And community building is what the Red Deer & District Community Foundation is all about. The Community Foundation is an institution whose sole mandate is to strengthen the quality of life of the community it serves by facilitating philanthropy.

It is a steward of people’s charitable gifts – serving as a vehicle for grateful citizens to demonstrate their vision beyond their lifetime by establishing funds, endowed and non- endowed. Since 1989, we have been entrusted with over 100 funds that respond to different causes, from our donors, families and individuals who have decided they will make an impact in the community they belonged to and cared for deeply, now and even beyond their lifetimes.

It is a locally based grant-maker – providing much needed resources to ALL sectors, from arts and culture, the environment, health and wellness and learning to social justice issues by providing much-needed support to charitable organizations in Central Alberta. Over the last 24 years, the Community Foundation has granted out more than $3,000,000 to our local charities. It also assists in leveraging resources that help our charities fulfill their mandate.

It is also front and center in community leadership – making sure that issues and concerns of area residents are put forward and addressed in a holistic and collaborative fashion. Since 2008, the Community Foundation provided a ‘home’ for the coordinator for the EveryOne’s Home Leadership Model. We have taken on the task of convening the community and engaging different sectors in finding ways to get to our goal of ending homelessness in Red Deer. Also, over the last six years, 75 women have been honoured for showing exemplary and inspiring leadership through the Women of Excellence Awards.

November 15th is National Philanthropy Day, celebrated annually around the world in recognition of the impact of philanthropy on our global community and our community’s quality of life. This day is a perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of giving and what the community has achieved because of this. The Community Foundation invites Central Alberta to celebrate this day dedicated to honor valuable contributions in building community.

The Community Foundation would also like to encourage everyone to continue to give, continue to engage, continue to care and share. Join us, as we help shape a smart and caring community and nation for our generation and generations to come.

Kristine Bugayong is the chief executive officer of the Red Deer & District Community Foundation.

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