Find joy by “giving where you live” and building up Fairfield County

Mar 08, 2017

Originally published on the Hearst CT News Blog.

In turbulent and divisive times, we could all use a bit more joy in our lives. But how can we connect with this feeling? Research reveals a surprising answer: doing good for others.

Many psychological studies show that giving makes people happy. When we give back to the world around us, we achieve something truly meaningful. We empower ourselves to become a force for positive change. And often, we connect with others who share our values and are working to a common end.

Giving can be even more rewarding when we focus our efforts on our own neighborhood. By choosing to “give where we live,” we co-create a stronger community, right where we are. And we can actually see the impact of our giving on neighbors whose lives change for the better – from young adults pursuing their dream of higher education, to working families who are breaking the cycle of poverty.

While engaging local philanthropy can be deeply fulfilling, would-be donors must first navigate a challenge. How can they find out about nonprofits doing good work in the community, and how can they help these organizations to advance their missions?

Making a difference through Fairfield County’s Giving Day

In our county, there are more than 1,700 nonprofit organizations dedicated to creating sustainable solutions in areas like hunger relief, access to housing, educational opportunities for youths and adults, supporting arts and culture and more.

Yet many generous donors are not familiar with nonprofits working within our community. So when it’s time to give, philanthropists often direct charitable donations to organizations working outside of our region, instead of first looking closer to home.

As a community foundation, we are dedicated to helping local philanthropists solve this challenge by uniting passionate people with nonprofits that are working effectively throughout the 23 towns and cities of Fairfield County.

One way this happens is through Fairfield County’s Giving Day, launched in 2013 to empower community members to create positive change. With the partnership of lead sponsor Bank of America, this annual 24-hour event is now our region’s biggest day of philanthropy, bringing together more than 10,000 caring community members every year to raise over $1 million for local causes. This day of giving provides a much-needed infusion of cash for our nonprofits – and awareness for the important work they do in the community.

This year, more than 400 local nonprofits will participate in Fairfield County’s Giving Day, coming up on March 9th, 2017. Community members can search for nonprofits in their neighborhood and donate to organizations working for causes they care about by visiting Exploring participating nonprofits offers hundreds of ways to make a difference, from rescuing animals to protecting the environment and so much more.

Partnering with local nonprofits to change lives for the better

Of course, giving locally isn’t limited to one day per year. The need is constant.

By partnering with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation staff, philanthropists who want to give locally can easily explore ways to make an impact close to home, whenever and however they choose. Ways to give where you live are numerous, from establishing donor-advised funds to joining forces with like-minded people to make a larger impact toward a common cause. (Think supporting local food banks, or making strides for women and girls.)

For both budding and experienced local philanthropists, donating to the Community Impact Fund is another easy way to ensure that tax-deductible gifts of any size are put to use locally. Research-driven initiatives fueled by this fund continue to address some of our region’s most pressing challenges – from bolstering cultural programs to supporting youth and adults in securing meaningful careers, and more.

Whatever your passion, there’s a way to make a difference. And while opportunities for giving locally are nearly countless, they share one common thread: when we give where we live, we change lives right here in Fairfield County.

We change our own lives, as we experience the joy and meaning of creating happiness for others. And we change the lives of our neighbors, as we create positive change through the power of people who care.

Together we thrive.

Support Fairfield County nonprofits by giving to a cause you care about on Giving Day – March 9, 2017. Or make a difference year-round by donating to our Community Impact Fund, or talking with our staff about other ways to give.