Andrew McCrea: Consider your Local Community During this Giving Season

'Tis the season of giving.
'Tis the season of giving.
(File Photo)

The end of each year is a time when many of us consider making year-end donations to non-profit organizations that are close to our hearts. Giving of our time, talents and money is an important part of helping others.  

I am an advocate for helping local causes in addition to national and global groups. For those of us living in small towns and rural America, we may be some of the few who can provide that much needed support. I live by the adage, “If not us, then who?” Here are some ideas to consider based on my experiences that I share in the book, “Total Town Makeover.”   

Local Funding Needs
I am an advocate for using the services of your local or regional community foundation. The mission of these groups is to help donors support non-profit organizations (often local) and they provide many resources at little or no cost to you.  

I believe it’s important to first ask, “Does your community have a local endowment or foundation?” Just as a family needs a savings account to help with projects and challenges, a town needs a source of funding to help with local needs. A local endowment can easily be set up through a regional community foundation and allows people to give to the fund and then use the interest from that principle to fund local projects.  

I have been part of a local town endowment that now provides $10,000 in grants each year to local projects in a town of 1,000 people. That $10,000 is the interest generated from the principle in the fund. Those grants often work as “seed money” toward larger efforts and serve to inspire local citizens to do tackle important community projects. Better yet, that town endowment is designed to help the community forever since the principle is never spent.

Support and Recruit
You may also consider giving to (or beginning) targeted, local scholarships. Does your community need a veterinarian, doctors, teachers or others in specific fields? Instead of general scholarships for graduating seniors, consider having scholarships that help bring young people back to rural areas in areas of need. Some regional community foundations and local communities already do this and have had good results.

Also, spread the word to your friends, both local and faraway. I am constantly amazed by the number of people that donate to local causes who have not lived in a rural area for decades. When made aware of local projects, they feel that connection to “home” and want to give. The population of your town is the number of people who have been touched by that community. Share the news by word-of-mouth or via social media.

As always, it is usually wise to consult with your accountant and lawyer when making decisions about year-end giving and long-term asset management that may be specific to your situation.

Many of us know the Beatitude, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Giving is our way to support people and causes beyond our own lifetime. Explore the opportunity to do good things right where you live in addition to the national and international causes that receive so much publicity. 

Find more information, resources and Andrew’s book, “Total Town Makeover” at



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