Our View: Our generosity does add up to make Nevada County a better place
December 15, 2017
Ringing the bells and thanking each shopper who dropped a donation in the Salvation Army red kettle this week reminded members of The Union staff about the generous people who live here.
"It's not much," one said, stuffing a couple of bucks into the bucket, while another followed with loose change from his pocket.
"Thank you. It all adds up," they were reminded.
And that's the thing about this community and this season. Giving back whatever you can — whether in the form of money, donated furniture or items to be sold at a thrift shop or raising your hand as an actual volunteer — makes a difference.
If one wants a good example of our people's generosity, simply consider the hundreds of nonprofit organizations that seek to serve the community — and then consider the hundreds of volunteers and the thousands of donated dollars that power them.
Considering that, one might expect Nevada County to have more nonprofits per capita than most communities across the state, perhaps even the nation. Maybe Grass Valley or Nevada City will make the next "10 Most Generous Cities" in California list, rather than the bogus lists that have proclaimed our community among the "most dangerous."
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In fact, our community has been recognized nationwide for its generous nature. Way back before the Great Recession, residents and businesses in Nevada County were giving close to $40 million annually to county nonprofits, according to a study conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy based on 2008 Internal Revenue Service data. As reported in 2013, the county ranked in the top 17 percent of charitable counties nationwide before the economy stalled.
Not all Nevada County residents have fully recovered from the recession, although there are signs that we're well on our way. And it was during that downturn that many of our nonprofits proved to be so pivotal for community members, as governmental services were being slashed at the time due to decreasing tax revenue to pay for them.
Of course we all have our favorite charities to support, with causes ranging from youth sports, that offer fun and healthy programs for our kids, to food and shelter services, that help ensure many people are provided with the basic needs of life.
You regularly read about some of these nonprofits on these pages, as we spread word of the latest spaghetti feed, golf tournament or event geared to raise money to fund the programs that help our people. Or we share stories on how one of our nonprofits — through the support of its generous donors and volunteers — helped turned things in a more positive direction for families.
A few weeks ago, in what's become an annual call for support across the country, many of Nevada County's nonprofits put forth their wish lists for "Giving Tuesday." A full list of those organizations and their needs was published by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. And while we're certain this community once again stepped up to meet some of those needs, we're also fairly confident they can still use more help.
So while you're looking for those last-minute holiday gifts for your own loved ones, consider adding a few of our nonprofits to your "nice" list in order to help others who are not as fortunate to have the means to make such donations.
And regardless of which organizations and efforts you choose to support, in whatever way you can, remember that it does, in fact, all add up to make our community a better place to live.
The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.