The Importance of Philanthropy in Community Revitalization
We know the signs of a community coming back from economic hardship. Businesses start up, citizens have more job opportunities, individuals are spending more money in the community and investors are making the community a priority again. The efforts to revitalize the community always seem to be connected to business and industry. What if I told you that behind nearly every project that “revitalizes” the community, there is a charitable component? It isn’t always state or federal tax credits and incentives. Each project would not be successful without donations for individuals who care most about their community.
Albion is a perfect example of what can happen when philanthropy gets involved in community revitalization. The Holland Park and Victory Park projects have both received significant philanthropic dollars. For 17 years, Kids’ N’ Stuff has provided quality experiences for children and family, but that would not have been possible without philanthropic support each year. The Bohm Theatre is what it is today because the Albion Community Foundation and community leaders were willing to give. Finally, the effort to restore the Coca-Cola mural and bring new public art to downtown will be successful because of monetary gifts large and small. Dollars given by individuals, either directly or through an organization, are what make Albion a better place.
A discussion of philanthropy, especially in Albion, is not complete without recognizing giving circles like Philanthropic Women. Albion Area Philanthropic Women have met quarterly for nearly a decade. Each time giving upwards of $10,000 to a local non-profit to support projects that make our community better. For the record, Albion Area Philanthropic Women are approaching the $500,000 given mark in Albion. As co-founder of the Albion Men Who Give, we should only be so fortunate to match the women’s impact in Albion.
As we head into the holiday season, I challenge you to give to causes that builds up and supports growth where you live. This year I will support Kids N’ Stuff, the Albion-Homer United Way, and many other local organizations. Who will you support?