It’s fair to say that we live in a conservative state, where the values of independence, freedom and self-reliance tend to shape public policy. Regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, there’s no denying that government in Idaho at the state and local levels is relatively small compared to many places. Where government services and the social safety net are limited, a vibrant nonprofit sector, such as the one we have in Idaho, fills the void, touching most people’s lives in myriad ways.
Chances are, you interact with Idaho’s nonprofits regularly as you go through life. This weekend, you might visit a museum, go to a play or attend church, thanks to the nonprofit organizations that make those activities possible. When you check out books at the library, you can tip your hat to the nonprofit foundation that purchased those books and supports your library. Perhaps you’re planning to send your child to a nonprofit day-care center or a summer camp. If you’re a senior or have relatives who receive hand-delivered meals or tax preparation assistance, or participate in classes or activities offered by local nonprofits, then you know their work. And maybe you have a four-legged friend in your house, courtesy of a nonprofit animal group.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine life in Idaho without everyday encounters with the thousands of nonprofits that serve and strengthen our communities. Nearly every week, at every stage of life, almost everyone in Idaho benefits from having a nonprofit fill a need that no other sector of society can or will address. Without these organizations, the fabric of our communities would quickly become threadbare.
A few years ago, we decided to celebrate and elevate the nonprofit sector as a whole, recognizing that it’s all of these organizations together that improve the mental, physical and spiritual health of our cities and towns. It is this vast constellation of organizations, what former President George H.W. Bush referred to as “a thousand points of light,” that we seek to both honor and support with an event called Idaho Gives.
Idaho Gives, which debuted in 2013, is a 24-hour giving blitz that taps into the generous spirit and sense of connectedness of Idaho’s citizens. Once again this year, more than 500 nonprofits from every corner of the state will be participating in Idaho Gives, raising awareness of the vital work they do and asking you to help in fulfilling their mission by lending financial support.
Last year, we raised nearly $800,000 together in a single day; this May 7, we expect that as awareness of Idaho Gives continues to grow, the total number of dollars Idahoans give to nonprofits will also grow. The impact we make in a single day is tremendous, not to mention the message we send about our nonprofit sector: These organizations matter and we believe in and support them.
For the thousands of Idahoans who have participated in this event the past two years, the decision hasn’t been whether to give, but rather how many groups to support. To see so many groups at idahogives.org, spanning so many different categories and doing so much good, it can be hard to limit your giving to just one group. The good news is you don’t have to pick only one. Just a $10 donation can turn into thousands of dollars for the nonprofits you support. On May 7, Idaho Gives. Will you?