The Creston Museum logging arch now has a shelter to protect it. From the long list of donors on the “thank you” board attached to the shelter, to the labour volunteered by members of the Rotary Club, the project reflects the power of philanthropy. Photo: Alexandra Gesheva

The Creston Museum logging arch now has a shelter to protect it. From the long list of donors on the “thank you” board attached to the shelter, to the labour volunteered by members of the Rotary Club, the project reflects the power of philanthropy. Photo: Alexandra Gesheva

Celebrating National Philanthropy Day in Creston

“While some of our earlier donors may have passed away, their love for the Creston Valley still supports projects near and dear to their hearts,” writes Alexandra Gesheva of the Creston-Kootenay Foundation.

By Alexandra Gesheva of the Creston-Kootenay Foundation (CKF)

Nov. 15 is National Philanthropy Day. While sometimes tough to pronounce, philanthropy is very simple to do.

In modern times, the word “philanthropy” is often heard on the news in reference to donations from the wealthy. Used that way, it can seem out of the league of regular people, with regular bills and income.

But when it was coined by the ancient Greeks roughly 2,500 years ago in Prometheus Bound, philanthropy meant simply “the love of humanity.”

Returning to these origins means that philanthropy is not about the size of a donation of money or time. Instead, individual circumstances determine what each of us can give. That way, each individual donor can search out the right cause and most meaningful way to make an impact.

With many individuals contributing as they can, great causes need not wait for that one rich person to materialize and make a difference.

Most Canadians are already philanthropists. According to 2013 Statistics Canada data on giving, 82 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over made financial donations to a charitable or nonprofit organization.

At the same time, 44 per cent (or 12.7 million Canadians over 15 years old) participated in some volunteer work. Those volunteers devoted 1.96 billion hours or a volume equivalent to about 1 million full-time jobs to making their communities better, stronger, and kinder.

The next, most rewarding part of philanthropy is the privilege of seeing the impact of a contribution. For that to happen, we often need to give closer to home.

For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a change of focus, from the global to the local. It’s easier to appreciate the importance of local community and the support it offers for the welfare of our neighbours.

Philanthropists in the Creston area have been giving to the Creston-Kootenay Foundation (CKF) for 15 years. In that time, endowment funds have grown to more than $4 million.

Just this year so far, the income generated by those pooled donations has funded a $20,000 donation to the local food bank and new kitchen appliances for the TAPS program, helped with hay for the Therapeutic Riding Program’s horses during lean times, invested in much-needed childcare in the valley and helped restore the St. Stephen’s church roof.

Community foundations like CKF accommodate the many varied interests of donors through specific funds, pooling resources in support of different causes. That way, local contributions stay in our community and continue to reflect the values and wishes of their donor in perpetuity.

While some of our earlier donors may have passed away, their love for the Creston Valley still supports projects near and dear to their hearts.

Philanthropy Day is a great time for us all to reflect on what we value and what each of us can do for a cause we love. Whether a few minutes or a few hours, a few dollars or a few thousand, each expression of support is as important and unique as its donor.

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