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In-Kind Contributions are a great way to help community needs in CivicRush

In-kind gifts, also referred to as in-kind donations, is a type of charitable giving in which instead of giving money to buy needed goods and services, the goods and services themselves are given. In-kind contributions can include tangible goods like equipment, books, cars, clothing, furniture and supplies. Goods may also be intangible, such as advertising space, marketing expertise, patents, royalties and copyrights. 

In-kind contributions are a great way to help in CivicRush!

Create your account today and find your next opportunity to volunteer or a community need to support.

Giving Life

On an otherwise quiet day, August 30, 2009, a young woman I will never meet gave my family the most amazing gift.   More specifically, my Dad.  His kidneys had failed in the years leading up to this.  He had been on dialysis, but after experiencing just about every complication possible, the rest of us stood helplessly and watched him turn into a very old man almost overnight.  My brother, my sister, and I were ruled out as possible donors due to other health concerns, not that we had any faith we could convince Dad to let one of us be a donor for him.  Then early in morning, the call came.  He had a match.  His donor gave him (and others) life, even as hers ended.

I cannot describe the feelings from that day, not really.  But I carry a debt with me, a need to do my part to give back.  I know that I may not have organs worth giving when my time comes, who knows.  But I’ll make sure my wishes are known.  It’s like an ultimate way to “pay it forward”, the most honorable way of giving I can imagine.  I’ve wondered how to share my thoughts on this, how to encourage my friends, and maybe they would encourage their friends, to consider making this a priority.

April is “Give Life” month, and I think maybe I have a small way to promote giving.  I encourage all of you reading this to consider including organ donation as part of you plans for giving to your community.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if during April, we could get 100 new donors listed?  It’s easy to do.  Many states let you mark this on the back of your drivers license.  If that is not an option for you, look at these websites: donatelife.netorgantransplants.orgcore.orgorgandonor.gov.  I’m creating an event on a new Civic Engagement app – Civic Rush.  If you make the decision to join the ranks of miracle workers, use the app to join the event.

Fulfillment Through Giving

Have you ever felt empty? Like something is missing? Do you have a list of achievements, yet you still feel unfulfilled? Don’t worry you’re not alone. Many people often encounter these same feelings. I even remember feeling like this at one point in my life. I would read articles on passion, purpose, and fulfillment trying to figure out how to get out of that funk. Through reading these articles, I found they all had one thing in common. Giving back to others. They believed giving to others or providing a service to others, provides a sense of fulfillment: a sense of purpose. Alice Walton, from The Science of Giving Back article points out, “Being part of something larger might be one of the best things we can do, both for others and ourselves.”

I couldn’t agree more. As soon as I started to actively and intentionally volunteer, donate, and engage in my community, I didn’t feel so empty. When I didn’t have time but was limited on funds, I would volunteer. When I didn’t have time but I had the funds, I would donate. When I didn’t have time or funds, I would try to engage in my community. Engaging in my community would be something as simple as doing a random good deed for some I encounter while navigating my day.

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” – Tony Robbins

Fulfillment is a great reason to give back to others. However, there are so many benefits to giving back:

It improves your health for both the mind and the body. Studies have found that those who volunteer benefit from reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, and have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.

It provides new experiences and opportunities. It provides an opportunity for you to connect with like-minded people and even people who may provide a different perspective than you. Networking can lead to career opportunities, neighborhood resources, and more.

It contributes to your community. Whether it’s through community cleanup, community activities, or a simply act of kindness. You can gain sense of fulfillment through contributing to your community by making it a better place to live for everyone, including yourself.

Helps you find your purpose. If you want to find your purpose, do something for someone else. But don’t take my word for it. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

How will you lose yourself today?

The Importance of the 2020 Census for California Latinos

Every 10 years, our country undertakes the critical task of counting the number of people who reside in these United States of America.
This process is mandated by the US Constitution to ensure that critical decisions about political representation and equitable distribution of federal funds to states are made using concrete data. In 2020, this decennial count will determine how the 435 seats in the House of representatives will be distributed, along with roughly $600 billion in federal funds. For California, a state with an estimated 15 million Latino residents (39% of the population), getting an accurate count of Latino residents is critical!

According to a 2018 report conducted by the Latino Community Foundation and NALEO Education Fund, “despite an undercount of 113,000 Latino children under the age of five in the 2010 Census, California receives more than $77 billion annually in federal funds for crucial education, health, social, infrastructure and emergency services and programs.” We cannot afford to continue undercounting our Latino families if we are to get our fair share of these allocated federal resources. But, we are facing some considerable barriers to getting an accurate count in 2020. CA has some of the highest numbers of Hard-To-Count (HTC) tracks in the country which include immigrants, Latinos, other minority groups, residents with low English proficiency, renters, etc., and the federal government has considerably reduced the budget for the Census Bureau to carry out outreach and education services while also demanding that every member of the Census staff be a US citizen. This seriously limits the ability of the bureau to hire a diverse workforce with the appropriate skills to work on effectively counting the people living in these HTC tracks. Additionally, the federal government is also looking to add a question to the Census Form asking for a person’s citizenship status. If included in the final form, this question will certainly discourage many marginalized immigrant families from participating in the census for fear of repercussions.

So what do we do as a community? We activate ourselves gente! We cannot stay on the sidelines hoping that things change, we must motivate ourselves and others, to ensure that we get a proper count in 2020. Make sure that you, your family members and your friends are all counted, and volunteer your time and money to supporting a local nonprofit working in those HTC tracks. We simply cannot afford to remain quiet and to let critical opportunities pass us by. Help spread the word of what’s at stake and let’s ensure that our democracy remains vibrant and accurately reflects who we are as nation. Adelante, siempre!