Lately my mind has been awash with thoughts pushing and pulling in all directions, motivated by my love of family (immediate and communal), my connection to Israel and the Jewish people and the needs of my new business.
The connectedness of those things most important to me adds meaning to my life and inspires me to promote those connections. My belief is that we are placed on earth to do good — to make a positive contribution, whether volunteering time, providing leadership or simply donating money to help improve society. By making a personally meaningful contribution, I feel that I am helping to save a life or repair the world in a way that is significant and gives my life more purpose.
A meaningful gift, in my opinion, is one that involves sacrifice. If I gave loose coins from under the sofa — that would be a donation, but I would feel that it did not rise to a level of a “meaningful gift.” Each of us must decide for ourselves what a meaningful gift would be from us at various times in our lives.
I am extremely proud of our Jewish Federation of Howard County and the way dedicated office staff and lay leadership have embraced change, stepped up to improve ties to our community, helped those in need during difficult times and grown our base of active participants and supporters. We recently raised $82,000 on Giving Tuesday, wildly surpassing our goal and gaining a record for a single day of giving.
In 2017, Columbia, the central city in Howard County, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. I am excited to imagine what our diverse and inclusive city, one of the top 10 American cities in which to live and raise a family, will look like in 50 years. As we grow commitment and develop “meaningful giving” in support of all of our communities — locally, regionally and globally — I believe we will have an extraordinarily strong community and bright future.
The Chanukah miracle reminds us of how limited resources were miraculously extended. Won’t you help extend the limited resources of the organizations that support our collective Jewish society? Please pledge a personally “meaningful gift” this and every year in support of the organizations that support us all and be a strong example for others.
Thank you to each of you who have recently joined us and especially to those of you who have supported the Jewish Federation of Howard County for years, and in many cases, for decades. We would not be here without you and are dependent on all of you to help grow our organization and strengthen our connection.
Cary Millstein is vice president of campaign at the Jewish Federation of Howard County.