Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I Give

When times are good, people are usually in a "giving" mood. Charity donations are up. Volunteerism is up. And people are more willing to lend a helping hand. But when the economy tanks, people lose jobs, and begin to worry about their mortgage and other bills, thoughts of helping others can fall by the wayside.

But I want to encourage you to continue to help those in need and continue to support the charities and programs that help people who are homeless, abused, mistreated, hungry, sick, and just plain down on their luck.

This month, I was the featured donor in the newsletter of a charity I support. I just wanted to share it with you.
Reprinted Article from the March 2009 Innocence Project Newsletter.

Why I Give
Doreen Rainey
Professional and Personal Coach
Bowie, Maryland
I learned about the Innocence Project from a friend who works as an attorney. She and I talk frequently about the racial and socioeconomic disparities in our criminal justice system and the need for immediate reform.

While the suffering caused by a wrongful conviction is impossible to imagine, I believe these injustices are the tip of the iceberg and point to deeper problems in the system. It’s obvious to me that poor people and members of minority groups are more likely to face injustice in our courts and prisons, but we’re a soundbite society and the problems with courts and law enforcement often fail to enter the public conversation. Thankfully, wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing have raised the level of this discourse and have contributed to real reform. The common-sense solutions supported by the Innocence Project are inspiring and could provide a platform for change throughout the system.

I always want my donations and efforts to have as big an impact as possible, and sometimes this stops me from making small gifts. I think I was holding back from supporting groups like the Innocence Project because I couldn’t afford to fully fund an individual case or make a major contribution. My friend helped open my eyes to the power of every dollar. I started making a monthly donation to the Innocence Project, and now I realize that every gift has an exponential impact. This is the first time I’ve set up an automatic monthly gift, and I’m proud to say that the Innocence Project can count on my continuing support. In these economic times, consistency helps organizations be as effective as possible.

My career is focused on helping others maximize this opportunity called life. I like to think that the Innocence Project does this as well - it helps give new lives to people who have lost their most precious asset - their freedom. My support of the Innocence Project means so much to me, because now I realize that even when you can’t do something big, it’s doing something that matters.

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