“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
– Mother Theresa
Point to Ponder:
What non-profit is special to you?
During a conversation a few weeks ago between my mom and I, she candidly said, “If in this day and age anyone complains of being bored, they aren’t looking hard enough because there are always people to help.” I think she’s right. For sure there are always people to help, and “in this day and age” we are fortunate to have access to so many wonderful organizations that do amazing work!
Last week I shared with you my favorite philanthropies and non-profits, and this week our leaders are sharing some of theirs. For some of us, support is through monetary contributions, and for others of us it’s our time. The important thing is that it comes from loving hearts, and that’s what matters most.
Alli’s & Sha’s Favorite: Beyond Batten Disease Foundation
“Every year for the past 4 years I have participated in an event called “Run to the Sun” to raise funds and awareness for Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, and I am passionate about this event and this cause. BBDF is a local non-profit founded by dear family friends, Charlotte and Craig Benson, on behalf of their daughter Christianne, who has this devastating rare neurological disease. In just a few short years, BBDF has made huge gains in understanding and treating Batten, along with numerous other rare childhood diseases, and is now on track to find a cure in Christianne’s lifetime! Run to the Sun is a 90-mile overnight relay from Enchanted Rock to Austin in which runners symbolically experience Christianne’s journey — running into and through the night, “blind,” sometimes “alone” (but never really), always surrounded and supported by teammates, other runners, and volunteers along the course, culminating at sunrise with a finish-line celebration where everyone crosses and “comes into the light” together. The experience is truly life changing, and the work of the foundation is too.”
Amy’s Favorite: Austin Sunshine Camp
“One of my favorite, lesser-known, local non-profits is Austin Sunshine Camps. The camps’ mission is to engage and empower youth through outdoor experience and education. For over 85 years, kids from Austin and surrounding areas have enjoyed summer camp free of charge. There is a neat story to the camp’s beginning: In 1928, The Young Men’s Business League(YMBL) of Austin recognized the serious community threat of youth tuberculosis and became dedicated to making a significant contribution to the solution. YMBL members established the Summer Sunshine Camps in Zilker Park to provide afflicted local youth and economically disadvantaged youth an environment in which to gain weight, grow strong, and enjoy sunshine, as it was said that sunshine could assist in curing tuberculosis. Today, Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps continue to serve youth living near or below the poverty line. The programs have expanded to include education and a mentoring component. After-school programs and tutoring are now offered to middle and high school youth, empowering them to dream big and look towards college. The camps are in the process of building a new facility at Zilker Park which will enable many more central Austin youth to succeed through education and healthy living.”
Cary’s Favorite: Marbridge
“If you ever doubt the adage ‘what you give, you get,’ just hop in your car and drive till you reach Marbridge Ranch. A home for cognitively-disabled adults, Marbridge gives life to those who might otherwise struggle fiercely if they lived outside of its warm and loving doors. Donations go to support the most loving and true people anyone will ever find on this planet. They literally ‘had me at hello’ the first time I volunteered there, answering phones in the main office. Two mischievous residents knew the regular gal was out, and that a green and unsuspecting little me was the gatekeeper-in-training…in other words, I had no idea who could come and go. So these two did just that, they came — time and again, carrying mail, bluebonnet seeds, papers, you name it…just to get past me so they could have a peek into the Big Boys’ offices. My face hurt, I smiled so much that day, and I haven’t looked back. Each time I go, I am visited by an angel…that is the truest way I can think to describe it. They love, they smile, they live, they learn, they teach. It is a beautiful place. You can give in the form of financial support, but also volunteer support, and there are a million opportunities for that. If you are able to become involved…I promise, you will never look back!
Catherine’s Favorite: Austin Community College
“This past year I have really come to respect and admire the work they do at Austin Community College. With both my husband and I taking classes there this year, we’ve witnessed first-hand how focused the instructors in the career-specific courses are on truly helping prepare the students for being successful in a career and finding good jobs, as opposed to just academics for academics’ sake (which I experienced through large Universities). Growing up, I had no exposure to or respect for community colleges, and since I’ve thankfully opened my eyes and learned that ACC does awesome things for students at a price that is actually manageable for those paying for their own school that want to pursue their dreams and become everything they dream of. The career-specific course instructors we’ve encountered are truly there for helping you learn more about what that skill is like in the ‘real world’, instead of focusing on school reputation, accolades, etc. Now, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the real deal… I just really love and value that at this point in my life! I’m so thankful that my prejudice against community colleges has been exposed and proven dead wrong, because ACC (a non-profit) is awesome and serves an incredible purpose for the people that want and need it.”
Kathleen’s Favorite: Campus Crusade for Christ
“My favorite non-profit thus far has been supporting Campus Crusade for Christ right here in Austin. I have sponsored a darling couple here on staff at UT. They have made such an impact on so many young lives just down the street from me on campus. I truly believe that these UT students will be forever changed by these young men and women on staff at Cru. I was involved with Campus Crusade when I was a student at UT and it was a life-changing event for me!”
Molly’s Favorite: Susan G. Koman Foundation
“My favorite non-profit is the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I’ve known several women who have fought and won the battle with breast cancer, and several who have passed away, including my grandmother. My support of this cause is important because I wish for the doctors and researchers to find a cure so that no woman endures this pain ever again. I’ve participated in the Race for the Cure, and I love that family, friends and strangers join together to unite for this beautiful cause.”
Determine one way you can help support a non-profit that’s special to you during this giving season.