Now, it is our turn to give back. For the past several years, we have dutifully given to the church and randomly responded to requests for funds from educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable organizations. However, when we got to the end of the year, we always realized that we didn't quite give as much as we would like to and our giving didn't necessarily reflect our values.
For this coming year, we decided to change that. We determined up front how much we wanted to give based on our current income levels and which organizations we wanted to support. Based on that, I simply worked our charitable donations into the budget with specific target recipients each month.
If you are interested, here are the organizations we ended up with and the reasons why:
- Baylor University: Without this school and what it offered me, there would be no money to give.
- Birmingham-Southern College: Todd's alma mater and the place where we met.
- Columbia Theological Seminary: The Presbyterian Seminary where Todd received his M.Div.
- Vanderbilt University: Another one of Todd's alma maters (he has four degrees...) where he received his Ph.D.
- Luther College: The school where Todd is currently teaching and loving every minute of it.
- First Presbyterian Church, Waco, Texas: This church embraced us with open arms, helped raise our daughter, and provided friends for life.
- VH1 Save the Music Foundation: Music was always (and still is) a big part of my life. It scares me when I hear of schools cutting music, art, and other creative classes.
- Carbon Fund: We give to this organization to offset our cars and other travel.
- Conservation International: This organization works to preserve our planet and makes a big impact everyday around the world.
- NRDC: Another organization which works for the environment from every angle including politics.
- Slow Food USA: The vision of this organization is a world where everybody has food to eat which is good for them and which is produced in a manner which is good for the planet.
- Heifer International: Great organization which helps people all around the world make a sustainable living in an earth-friendly manner.
- Plowshare Center: Part of the Ten Thousand Villages organization, this cozy store offers fairly traded products from around the world (more to come on fair trade...).
I truly believe the statement in the title of this post. The ability to give is a gift. Not only does a gift benefit the recipients of the gift, but it also benefits the giver in innumerable ways.
No one has ever become poor by giving.
- Anne Frank
- Anne Frank