The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines philanthropy as an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes. In other words, philanthropy is people, organizations and businesses donating their time and money to charitable organizations to support efforts to make our world a better place for everyone.
In 2011, the Chronicle of Philanthropy authored its report titled “How America Gives,” based on information supplied by the IRS. According to the study, Ocala/Marion County residents, businesses and organizations gave a remarkable $74 million to international, national, state and local charitable organizations in 2008, the most recent year that complete figures are available.
Thanks to the generous gifts from the private sector, the following local organizations reap the benefits of philanthropy: Marion County’s Take Stock in Children, a program of The Public Education Foundation, has provided more than $1.25-plus-million dollars in scholarships to 470 at-risk students; The Munroe Regional Medical Center Foundation provides more than $1 million each year for capital projects such as the much-needed Children’s Emergency Department; Hospice of Marion County provides compassionate and loving care to all that seek their services regardless of their ability to pay; Pace Center for Girls, the Arnette House and the Boys and Girls Club provide needed services to our youth; Interfaith Emergency Services, the Salvation Army and Brothers Keeper provide food, shelter and comfort for those in need; the ARC Marion Foundation provides funding for scholarships to special needs children and adults; The United Way of Marion County provides $2 million dollars annually to organizations who serve our children, our elderly and our needy; and the College of Central Florida Foundation provides scholarships to deserving students.
These are just a few of the many charitable organizations in Marion County that make a difference every day.
Philanthropy is alive and well in our community. We are better place to live because of the time and resources given by so many. Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals and all its members in celebrating National Philanthropy Day this Thursday. We applaud the residents of Marion County for your support to all of our charitable organizations. Our work can only continue with your support.
Beth McCall is executive director of the Munroe Regional Medical Center Foundation and is past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, North Central Florida Chapter. She lives in Ocala.