By: Sheri Denny, Regional Philanthropic Advisor
Our annual competitive grant cycle culminated in our Joy of Giving Luncheon held in August. We gathered to celebrate philanthropy in our county – the nonprofit organizations, staff, volunteers, and donors who meet the needs in our community. This year was meaningful for me not only because it was my first year attending as an ACF staff member, but also because “Joy” was our foster cat this past summer.
This mini-fluff ball of only a few pounds had anything but a joyful beginning to her life. The harsh reality was Joy lived in a car with 15 other cats and she came to us the day she gave birth to two stillborn kittens. The two surviving kittens lived two and five days respectively, despite everything we did. Joy was so malnourished that she could barely walk; it was no wonder her offspring were not healthy. It was gutting to say the least. Heartbreaking situations exist countywide not just for animals like Joy, but also with humans – be it foster children, veterans without homes, those experiencing domestic violence, and so on.
I mention this because our nonprofits are on the front lines everyday. What they do is not easy work. While it would be a disservice not to be honest about the struggles we face in the nonprofit sector, there is good news. We are in this together, as a community, working collaboratively, transforming lives, and providing services to those in need.
Fast forward a few weeks and my foster cat Joy personified her name. She became extremely playful, emitting the cutest meows before attacking her prey on a string. Although skittish, Joy would warm up to people and accept all the love she was given, wrapping her tufted paws around those who pet her. She ate voraciously, grew stronger, was spaded, and eventually adopted by a loving family. This cat symbolized the joy and resilience we can experience working in the nonprofit sector.
While we must accept the good and the bad, we have to focus on the joy – not because the glass is half full, but that the glass is refillable. The Joy of Giving event celebrated each of you, your work, and your successes. It was a time to refill, recharge, reconnect, and never forget the joy we bring into our community by giving of ourselves – our time, talents, and treasures. In this newsletter, we will continue to focus and highlight local nonprofits and …. share the joy!