Sunday, August 19, 2012
Mindful Giving - Day Seventeen
Today was bittersweet. I drove 30 miles to the charming town where I help each year with a fun fundraiser to attend a meeting about its future form. I love the noprofit that benefits from this event, or, more accurately, I love the wonderful people who work and volunteer for this nonprofit. The organization itself has had more and more serious issues with the way it conducts it business, and the way it raises and distributes its money. Over five years, it has gone from being a locally-based, good feeling place to having the ethos of a national corporation with all the attending disinterest in its employees and careful guarding of its bottom line. Unfortunately, it is NOT a corporation, thus has nothing to sell to keep itself afloat if it continues to disenchant its loyal volunteer and donor base as effectively as it has in the last few actions I've witnessed.
The outcome of the meeting was that the event will be put on hiatus for several years, and, most likely, discontinued. As I said, I'm sad about that. On the other hand, it's been going on for 20 years and the core organizers are tired. It's probably a good time to let it go. It does take a great deal of time and energy that can go elsewhere. I know it's been a part of my life, and my family's, for the last seven years. My daughters have been helping at this event every June from the time they were eight and five years old. In fact the first thing B said when I told her was, "Does that mean we won't see P there any more?" referring to one of their little friends who is the grandson of the chair. "I guess not," I said. "We'll just have to write to them and stay in touch."
This woman, who chairs the event and was its original creator, just had a birthday this week. She's 83 years old and a great-grandmother who I have witnessed putting in countless hours and errands on behalf of the mission and the event. She deserves recognition and praise. Whether the nonprofit did the right thing or not, I was determined to celebrate her birthday. This is a woman who is constantly giving to others, even if she can be a bit of a bear. I've always liked her, admired her, and gotten along with her well. Which is why I always get the consultant job!! She has everything she could ever need, and then some. But she happened to mention a few months ago that because she has a summer birthday one of her favorite celebration foods has always been ripe watermelon.
For today's gift, I made a special trip to the store and bought a watermelon and a pot of yellow flowers, her favorite color. I even carried the watermelon into the bathroom with me and washed all the dirt off of it, which got me a few very odd looks! Then I stuck a sparkly silver bow on it, and drove over to her cottage. I left the watermelon, the flowers, and a birthday card outside her front door for her to find. I know she'll love the surprise -- and the gesture!!