Heidi Hall: Give for art, and need
I have become trapped in a fundraising vortex. I am in a perfect storm of raising funds, giving time and money, knowing that every bit counts and yet that it is never quite enough.
I know I am not alone in this generous community. The majority of people I know in the Grass Valley-Nevada City community give.
Many of you, retired and with more time, or with more money, give far more than I do without complaint or publicity. Nevertheless, I do what I can and though it may create some holes in my wallet, it also warms my heart and soul.
Personally, I believe that if I can afford a vacation, I can also afford to give. I miss the warm beaches of Hawaii, but that time will come again and in the meantime, I am grateful that I am able to invest locally.
The trick is to make it fun and be creative about it.
As some of you know, I am participating in the Aug. 22 Dancing With Our Stars (DWOS) fundraiser for the Center for the Arts, along with 10 other local “celebrities” and 11 other local dancers.
In this case, not only are we all pitching you to buy tickets and contribute to our personal donation pages, but also literally putting our bodies on the line.
In 10 years of gyms, hiking and walking, nothing has gotten me to get in shape faster than the thought of busting some dance moves in front of 700 locals.
I would venture that some of my colleagues feel the same. DWOS has also introduced me to the wide variety of local dance venues and dance classes.
You can now call me a semi-regular at local salsa and blues fusion dances, both of which are wonderfully age inclusive.
Investing in local art – and this includes music and dance – brings in at least $4 for every $1 invested into the community. This is a significant economic driver and has the parallel effect of inspiring joy and creativity.
We are blessed with multiple dance and music venues — nevadacountyarts.org lists 13 dance organization, 13 festivals, 11 music organizations and nine theater organizations — and I know that more have started up in the last few months.
Many of our local productions are getting great reviews and attention outside of the area.
Nevertheless, asking for funds for art in the midst of a raging fire season, when people are in fear of losing their homes and pets, and firefighters are risking their health and safety to save them, feels conflicting.
It challenges my desire to give where it seems most needed, like to our thinly stretched homeless organizations like Utah’s Place and Sierra Roots.
I also have a commitment to healthy alternatives for youth in the area, giving both time and money to NEO and supporting recovery programs that we know “work for people who work it.”
Because I try to walk the talk, I also give to political parties and candidates, particularly those who are fighting underdog battles that I believe in. But my funds are limited and the choices are broad.
To honor this inner fundraising conflict, last week I offered to personally match 25 percent of the donations made to my Center for the Arts site through Aug. 9 to give to the Wildland Fighter Foundation, a group created to “To honor, recognize, and support wildland firefighters, past, present, and future, and to provide resources to assist fallen and injured firefighters and their families.”
You came through, and the WFF received a first time $170 donation from me this week.
I am not sure I can afford to do this again, but if I could, I would match funds for the local homeless organizations, because I know this is a huge need with a direct impact on people’s lives.
Helping get the homeless into homes also helps our economy and our sense of safety. I can’t think of another sector of society in more need of serious assistance.
I am sure I will hear from the other 493 nonprofits in the area that I did not mention here. I know most of them are more than worthy of your aid.
It is up to each of us to find the place that touches us in a way to make us want to give. You certainly aren’t lacking for variety.
As the summer winds down, I hope you, too, will fill your soul by finding a way to give back to our envy-worthy community, in whatever way best “floats your boat”.
Have fun with it while you are at it — and maybe pick up a new hobby, like dancing.
Heidi Hall lives in Grass Valley. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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