Tis the season indeed! In many households throughout the United States, children are lighting menorahs, stockings are being hung on mantels, cookies are baking, and mailboxes are overflowing with requests for year-end gifts from nonprofit organizations.
But the sounds of the season are not the same this year for our brothers and sisters impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The tinkle of silver bells has been replaced with the roar of front loaders. A cot in a gymnasium is a poor substitute for the warmth of the family hearth. Business owners who had high hopes for a strong retail season may be resigned to reopening next summer. And once again, our colleagues at the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are helping to provide much needed disaster relief services to our fellow citizens.
These circumstances call us to reflect on the privilege we have as nonprofit professionals to help ease the pain and suffering of others both daily and in times of crisis. Televised news reports include the faces of our first responders followed immediately by the nonprofit community--the volunteers and staff of the American Red Cross. Salvation Army trucks filled with supplies arrive on the scene. Celebrities lend their talents to raising awareness and money, but the nonprofit organizations whose missions are disaster relief are those who bring food, clothing, shelter and comfort to those who are hurting. And they stay the course until the work is done!
Below is a short list of nonprofit organizations that are providing “ministering angels” in this holy season. The team at Bacon Lee & Associates is grateful for these outstanding organizations and we know that there are countless other organizations that are and will be involved in this massive cleanup effort.
American Red Cross
America’s Second Harvest
Red Cross and Red Crescent
B’nai B’rith International
Catholic Charities USA
Southern Baptist Convention
Convoy of Hope
United Jewish Communities
Feed the Children
We invite you to use these links to visit the websites of these organizations and to consider a year-end gift to rebuild lives in New York and New Jersey.
Our work is important! As nonprofit managers, development professionals and board members, we are part of a growing sector of the US economy. We are responsible for the encouragement of, management of and conscientious stewardship of more than $300 billion in charitable giving each year. We also represent an ever-increasing area for job growth. This is the perfect time of year to fine-tune our mission message, to revisit our strategic plans and to spend some time dreaming big about the future of our organizations. The quality of life in our communities depends on our achieving our missions.
For four decades at the end of Christmas Eve services at First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, after the dimming of lights and the lighting of candles, worshippers make their way into the street while singing “Silent Night.” Our service ends as we recite together words written by Howard Thurman, mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. Thurman was an African-American pastor and professor who wrote and spoke extensively on the connection between spiritual values and a call to action to transform our world.
The great blessing we have as members of the nonprofit community is to participate daily in transforming our world. Consider the words of Howard Thurman from his poem, “The Work of Christmas.”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
The team at Bacon Lee & Associates wishes you the joys of the season and a new year of health and good purpose.
Bacon Lee & Associates