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5 Reasons to Give Where You Live in 2019

As 2019 shapes up to be even more politically volatile than last year, there are lots of national issues and organizations grabbing our attention. But the greatest impact we can make as individuals is often right at home.

Here are five reasons why supporting local organizations should be one of your New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Your Money Goes Farther in Your Own Backyard: Can you name five nonprofits off the top of your head? Chances are among them were St. Jude’s, Special Olympics or the Red Cross – organizations that more likely than not have little impact in your immediate community AND raise billions of dollars each year. Like most Americans, you probably don’t have the spending power of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jay-Z and Beyonce. But just like those billionaires, you probably do care that your money makes a difference. That’s why it makes sense to do a bit of homework to find small nonprofits in your area and become a regular donor. You’ll get much more appreciation, and likely a much bigger impact, by building a relationship that can, over time, make you the “Jay-Z and Beyonce of philanthropy” in your own backyard.

  2. Local Strategies Lead to National Change: The 2018 midterm elections saw communities that had previously been sidelined in the political process find their voices and utilize their power to readily engage in local politics and alter the national political landscape. We’ve seen long-time politicians and long-held political strongholds subverted by young upstarts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and community organizers like the local group of Arab American women in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who led voter outreach that flipped the New York State Senate and New York’s 11th Congressional District – eliminating New York City’s only conservative district. Their work was organized by the small nonprofit, Arab American Association of New York, founded to take on anti-Islamic sentiment following 9/11, which has found a new calling under the Trump Administration.

  3. Immigrants (and Grassroots Leaders) Get the Job Done: Experienced philanthropists know that organizations that tend to have the greatest impact in a community over time are more likely to be led by members of that community. And it makes simple sense: an outsider won’t know the ins and outs of the issue like someone who has faced that issue their entire lives. Next year, make a point to look at who runs the nonprofits you support -- do they look like the people the nonprofits aims to help?

  4. When the Border Comes to You: This past summer, when the crisis of children and parents being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border spiked, nonprofit lawyers around the country were called upon to represent displaced children. They didn’t have to travel to the border, as hundreds of children who were put on airplanes ended up in New York City, Chicago and beyond. Local legal nonprofits became frontline fighters in the national crisis -- which is increasingly common in the Trump era. Find and support organizations like the Safe Passage Project that defend unaccompanied minors on a daily basis and need your support in times of crisis and every day emergencies.

  5. Gen Z is Ready to Lead: In 2018 the students of Parkland showed us what young people already know: they’re tired of the political B.S. in D.C., and they’re going to force the country to change – ready or not. Teenagers around the country from the cities to the suburbs are leading the charge for political action on gun violence, voting rights and school integration. Make an investment in these new leaders who aren’t settling for the status quo, like the youth-led IntegrateNYC, which is taking on the most unequal school district in the country.

Cecilia Clarke

President & CEO
The greatest impact we can make as individuals is often right at home.