The Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s mission attracts some of the most generous people in Will and Grundy Counties. Entering my fourth year in development at the Y, I am inspired by the individuals who volunteer their time and donate their funds in support of our work. Philanthropy brings people and passions together, sparking joy for the giver and hope for the recipient.
My earliest memory of philanthropy dates back to 1989. It was a hot Sunday in Concord, Illinois and a dozen families from our church came together to put a new roof on Dollie Tribbitt’s home.
Mrs. Tribbitt was nearly 80 years old at the time. She lived alone and lacked the resources to pay for the materials or labor to replace her aged, leaking roof. She spent her career as a teacher, instructing some of the adults who scaled her house in service that July day. Mrs. Tribbitt wasn’t a relative of anyone working on the house that day, nor was she a member of our church. But she had a need and our able bodies with generous hearts were there to help.
My father was on the roof for what seemed like hours. My brother carried supplies to be brought up the ladders. My mom and the other ladies kept order and the lemonade flowing. We prepared lunch on banquet tables brought over from our church in Mike Crawford’s farm truck. My job was to walk the yard, carrying a huge magnet on a string to gather nails.
I never gave the experience another thought until recently. I found myself thinking about what it meant for these young families to give their time and treasure, when neither was in abundance- without receiving anything in return. This selfless act of giving is philanthropy; a concept we celebrate and encourage each and every day at the Greater Joliet Area YMCA.
Philanthropy can take many forms. And, while we tend to think of famous people and big gifts when we hear the word, we all can use our gifts and talents to help others in need.
As we embark on Giving Tuesday and the season of giving, I hope you will discover ways to use your gifts and talents to serve your community or a ‘Mrs. Tribbitt’ in your family’s life. Here are some excellent reasons to ‘BE THE GOOD’ this holiday season:
Giving Is Good for You
According to the Cleveland Clinic, regularly supporting a charity is linked to many health benefits, including lower blood pressure and stress levels. And, it’s reported to reduce the symptoms of depression.
In other studies, people who donated to a charity revealed stimulation of the brain’s reward center- the mesolimbic pathway. The act of giving released endorphins, creating a ‘Helper’s High.’ So, it really does feel good to give back!
Giving Builds Community
Every time we give, whether it be treasure or time, we invest in the kind of community we want to be a part of.
When you give to a leading community-based organization like the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, you support your friends and neighbors who are struggling. Your contribution enables individuals down the street and across town to experience YMCA programming and membership, which will bolster their mental, physical and emotional health.
In 2018, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA served a record 9,100 seniors, adults, families, teens, and kids who would have missed out if not for our financial assistance program, funded by generous donors, like you. Each year, we open our arms a little wider. Your gifts make belonging possible.
Giving Is Financially Savvy
Charity Navigator, a trusted source to evaluate nonprofits, touts that, “The glory of a charitable donation is that you give and receive at the same time.” This refers to the tax benefits of giving. While tax benefits are often the least understood, these are some of the most practical benefits of philanthropy.
Giving to a charity can reduce your taxable income if you itemize deductions. Consider any money you’ve donated or non-monetary items, such as food donations to local food pantries, land gifted or sold below market value, a piece of art, or a car given for the benefit of a non-profit. All of these donations are tax-deductible. Be sure to work with your accountant to help determine the value and deductibility of a gift before making it.
At the Y, we welcome the opportunity to work with our donors to create a meaningful giving plan that will achieve both your financial and charitable goals. If you are 70½ years of age or older, you can take advantage of a tax-savvy giving strategy to support the work of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA. By making a gift directly from your individual retirement account (IRA) to a qualified charity like the YMCA, you can help provide your friends and neighbors with a Y experience while avoiding the taxes incurred if you were to take the distribution yourself. This popular technique is referred to as the ‘IRA Charitable Rollover,’ and gifts made using this strategy count toward your required minimum distribution.
If you’d like to learn more about the unique ways in which you can support the Greater Joliet Area YMCA to meet your philanthropic goals, please contact Senior Development Director Julie Wilkinson at (815) 782-0825 or via email at [email protected]. And to make a donation to the Y’s Annual Campaign, click here.
Julie Wilkinson is the Senior Development Director at the Greater Joliet Area YMCA. With 12 years of diverse nonprofit development experience, Wilkinson has been a valued member of the YMCA staff team since 2016.