Philanthropy is such a hot topic these days, from Mark Zuckerberg’s major contribution to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, to the #BoulderWin of GNIP and Twitter which will benefit all of Boulder County. But philanthropy is not just about monetary contributions, it’s about the time and effort that individuals put back into their community which makes everyone’s lives better.

According to the North American Dictionary, philanthropy is described as the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the donation of money to good causes. Honestly, I know that this is just the cusp of what philanthropy stands for.

I first got involved with nonprofits when my mother would help the Meals on Wheels program where we delivered meals to the elderly who are unable to provide for themselves. This act of compassion is so crucial for our society today. I feel this passion to make a difference on a daily basis but I am also aware that not everyone has the same form of commitment to serve. Whether you have a passion for education, animals or hunger there is always something you can do to make an impact in something you care about.

Well, now some of you may be wondering how do I decide where to give back in my community? Where can I make the most impact? This all depends on the individual and what they are interested in or where they can use their personal strengths to make a difference.

The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County has a fantastic resource to learn about the Trends happening in the Community. This report studies the ongoing and emerging needs of citizens throughout Boulder County. To inform ways you can give back just read here:

I grew up in a very rural community that faced many challenges but my hometown also knew that together a community could overcome any challenge they faced. When I arrived in Longmont, Colorado in February 2014 I was shocked to see that way our new home was not much different from my hometown. There was a vibrant community enthusiasm and passion for making a difference through volunteer projects and support for flood victims.

Nearly six months after the disaster of the September 2013 flooding our community came together to rebuild the lives of those affected. I cannot imagine the courage, time and personal strength it took to face the devastation that took place as a team.

During my first few months in Boulder, I went on a site visit to see the way this assistance helped local farmers recover essential infrastructure needed to keep their business open. The devastation caused by the floods shocked me and I was not even in person to see the full extent of the damage. I have seen the bridges and lives still being rebuilt. Philanthropy has helped countless communities including Boulder from both the daily struggles of the general public to the disasters that affect our society.

When I began working for The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County I discovered that this philanthropic quest was a resolve to serve beyond “neighbors helping neighbors”. Everyone from corporations, local businesses, start-up companies to the “average Joe” contributes to the Boulder they live in. These companies and individuals are helping make a difference for people’s lives, even in those lives that they do not even know. This is what community is for, and these are the connections we want to happen.

Credit: Boulder JCC Camp Inc.

Credit: Boulder JCC Camp Inc.

Above is a photo of the Boulder JCC Camp Inc.’s donation to The Community Foundation’s 15 Forever Program. This program teaches young adults the process of grant-making and how it can benefit a community through data-driven and diverse grant decisions. Programs such as these are a catalyst for continued philanthropic efforts throughout the Boulder community.

During these posts I hope to bring the view of philanthropist, nonprofit and recipients alike to show you the many facets of philanthropy and how it effect the world around us.

By writing this column I hope to share these amazing signs of “Giving Back” in and around Boulder. As I explore my new community and the many faces of Philanthropy that our community is involved with, I hope you enjoy reading and learning more about philanthropy around Boulder.