On Philanthropy: United We Thrive

drawn image of black hand making the peace signUnited We Thrive
Don't wallow in despair - join the fight to make things better!

Contributed by AFPSEWI
Milwaukee Business Journal
June 19, 2020 issue

It’s easy to fall into despair these days. This year has been so painful and raw. More than 114,000 Americans dead from pandemic…national unemployment at 13%...seemingly weekly cases of brutality against African Americans. The world is falling apart and there’s nothing you can do about it -- or is there?

Each one of us has a moral responsibility to fight for justice. Who will lead that fight? Grassroots nonprofit organizations!  Here’s one example.

My nonprofit, St. Anthony School serves 1,700 south-side Hispanic K-12 students of modest means.  Our neighborhood has experienced great hardship from the city’s fastest COVID outbreak.  But with help from various donors and partner organizations, we have distributed over 15,200 meals to families, provided 80 cleaning and hygiene care packages and granted $8200 in financial assistance -- including paying for the funeral of a student’s mother. These might seem like modest impacts – but not to the families who received our help. 

Restoring social stability will require action from government and large institutions, but also from thousands of organizations like mine.  For our organizations on the front lines, the people affected are not numbers and statistics but faces and families.

My organization’s work fills me with hope, continually pushing back the despair I might otherwise feel. You can experience the same, by supporting a non-profit that is working for peace. Next time you think there’s “nothing you can do about it,” pick up your checkbook and support an organization doing good work. You too can be an instrument of peace.

On Philanthropy appears monthly in the Milwaukee Business Journal for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter. This month’s column is contributed by Ellen Wilkinson.