“Everyone can GIVE, Everyone can be a PHILANTHROPIST.”
Give and Take with Smile!!
By Loeurt TO, Cambodia
Unlike other places, people in Montana have been taught and inspired to GIVE. These practices gradually become a culture that the community wants to have and maintain.
This week all fellows have been presented and shown the infrastructure and the activities of community engagement in Montana. Community people in Montana have been constantly mobilized to contribute their resources back to their own community. People can contribute to their own community development in various forms including charity and volunteerism.
People have been mobilized to contribute their resources in cash and in kind to their own community through charitable events. For example, “Missoula Gives 2017” which is a 24-hours give donation campaign was conducted on Friday May 4 – 5 by Missoula Community Foundation. This campaign is designed to get the local community to donate to local NGOs. The purposes of the campaign was strategically to expand the philanthropy and to connect donors with nonprofits. I was impressed with the idea of Ms. Susan Hay Patrick, CEO of United Way of Missoula County saying that “we focus on numbers of the checks rather than numbers on the checks”. Meaning that engaging people in their community is the intention for sustainable community development. In this community-wide giving extravaganza, all people can give as small as 10$ and as much as thousand dollars. Thus, everyone has an opportunity to give.
Food donation is another option that individuals can do for their community. We had a chance to visit a Montana Food Bank Network where food is reserved for poor people, the homeless and those who face with food shortages. We were told that farmers, individuals and private companies were willing to contribute food to the Food Bank. The donated food is managed and delivered to the targets by Food Bank Staff.
Based on the above examples, everyone can make a difference through giving back to community as what is given is meaningful for the community. The practice of engaging people in community development can be applicable in other contexts in both the first world and the third world. As young leaders, we can make changes by teaching people to learn how to TAKE and GIVE. This needs our leadership skills and competence. Let’s inspire our community.
I strongly hope that I can bring back home with this community engagement strategy, and I am positive that everyone as a leader can make it. Thanks U.S. Department of State for providing me the opportunity to expose to community work in America. Your support is meaningful to me and my community.