How can you serve the Greater Richmond community in 2015? Explore the following ways you can give a little back each month of the year. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, but rather a few ideas to help integrate service and philanthropy into the year ahead.
For additional inspiration, you can visit GiveRichmond.org and give directly to a nonprofit who emulates the causes you care about most.
JANUARY? #1 Help those who need it most. The cold winter months can be especially difficult for some in our community. Initiate a blanket drive for a homeless shelter. Support a local food bank or food pantry. Pass on gently used furniture or clothing to an individual or family in need. Adopt a four-legged friend to warm your feet!
FEBRUARY ? #2 Recognize an outstanding teacher who has impacted your life. Nominate your favorite public school teacher for an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence and a chance to win a cash grant up to $12,000 for professional development activities of his or her own design. Awards may support professional workshops, advanced degrees or world travel.
MARCH ? #3 Focus on wellness. Let this be the ?year of wellness? for our community. Volunteer or give to a free clinic, or consider donating blood. Get active by walking dogs at an animal shelter or participate in a nonprofit-sponsored walk/run. Expose the young and old, abled and disabled to physical activity through involvement in organizations like Girls on the Run, Sportable or Richmond Regional Ride Center.
APRIL ? #4 Celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 12-18.What a great time of year to get out and lend a helping hand. HandsOn Greater Richmond is a fantastic resource that allows individuals, families, teams and corporate groups to connect with unique, fun, and flexible ways to get involved and make a difference in the Greater Richmond community.
May ? #5 Go green.Support local organizations that are making our region more sustainable. Increase access to healthy food in urban Richmond by digging in the dirt with Shalom Farms. Nurture the environment and make our region a beautiful place by supporting organizations like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the James River Association.
June ? #6 School?s out, but learning is ?in.? Get involved with organizations that keep kids stimulated and active during the summer months. Whether you give your time or money, you can help students experience new adventures and new friends through programs offered by Blue Sky Fund, Lewis & Clark Leadership and Comfort Zone Camp, among others.
July ? #7 Explore our region?s cultural treasures.Summer is a great time to visit new places, even within your own community. Enjoy the many parks and gardens Richmond has to offer, or take advantage of local history and culture by visiting local museums featuring art, science, history, historical figures and so much more. Remember that many of these fantastic places are available to the public because of generous donations.
August ? #8 Help students start school on the right foot.Donate backpacks, clothes, or become a mentor to a student. You can make a difference in the lives of youth in our city!
September ? #9 Be Amazing and #10 Become a biking enthusiast.First, join your community in supporting local nonprofits during the 5th annual Amazing Raise(Sept. 16-17), Richmond?s largest online giving challenge to celebrate and elevate local nonprofits! Over the past four years, The Amazing Raise has infused local nonprofits with over $5 million dollars in unrestricted support.
Second, line the streets and show your RVA pride from Sept. 19-27 when Richmond 2015/World Road Cycling Championships takes over the River City. Also known as Worlds, this is cycling?s pinnacle event, held annually in an international city as chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) through a competitive bidding process similar to the Olympic Games.
October ? #11 Play hard. #12 Work hard.Clap your hands and stomp your feet at the Richmond Folk Festival (Oct. 9-11) ? an annual outdoor music festival held at the downtown Richmond’s riverfront. Celebrate the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling and food.
This is also the month we celebrate HandsOn Day, a community-wide day of service with dozens of volunteer projects planned throughout the region. You can make our community a better place with just a few hours of your time. Bring a friend, family member or colleague to help paint a mural, landscape a schoolyard or organize a supply closet. Whatever your talent or interest, there?s a project for you!
November ? #13 Give thanks. During this season of Thanksgiving, express gratitude for those things that enrich your life and make your community safer, stronger and more vibrant. Send a thoughtful note to a teacher or a public safety officer. For Veteran?s Day, send a care package to our troops, spend the day with a veteran at your local VA hospital or attend a Veteran?s Day event in your area.
December? #14 Kick off the giving season and #15 Help others enjoy the holidays. Mark your calendar for Dec. 1 ? Giving Tuesday. It?s a simple idea to kick off the giving season. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Join us in celebrating a new, global tradition of generosity!
Everyone deserves to experience the joy of the holidays. If you would like to help provide meals, gifts or activities that build a sense of community for those isolated or in need, you may choose to contact a nonprofit directly or support one of the local Christmas Mother programs in our region.
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year!
GiveRichmond/GiveSouthsideVA is a program of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia (TCF). As strategic partners with ConnectVA, TCF and GiveRichmond/GiveSouthsdeVA encourage smart giving by identifying trends and success stories in local philanthropy through their Giving Smart blog series. If you have ideas about topics you would like to have covered, please comment below!