Money or time - what should you give?
The fall semester is off to a roaring start. In the Scott/Ross Center we are delighted to be further strengthening and developing our community partnerships. The Women's Lunch Place is our community partner of the year and we are inspired by the many ways that they provide support and services for homeless women in Boston. Our partnership is truly a reciprocal one. They have provided Simmons students with great experiences - hosting one of our Americorp Student Leaders in Service, partnered with three service-learning courses just in the past year. This fall, we will collaborate with them for a special community service event that will take place on Parents Weekend and will also include our alumnae/i. We look forward to further exploring this exciting relationship.
A question that is often posed to our community partners is what is of more value - donations of money or volunteer time. The answer in most cases is that both are needed equally. Many of our community partners rely heavily on volunteers to provide the services that their clients need but funds are required to provide the infrastructure and materials that the organizations needs to operate. So give in whatever way you can, find out where your time or money will make the biggest impact. If you are in the Boston area check out the Scott/Ross Center website for a list of our partners and organizations that you might want to volunteer at.
Giving a donation in lieu of a gift is something that you could also think about for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. Many of our partners have special programs that recognize your honoree. One organization that my family became involved with this year, through birthday gifts and donations is kiva.org whose mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. We helped microfinance two women. One in Azerbaijan who invested in sewing equipment and the other in Ecuador who owns and runs a paper store. Once they pay back this loan, you are able to reinvest it if you want. Talk about the gift that keeps giving! I originally learned of this organization through the book, "Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Pulitzer Prize Winners and New York Columnists, Nicolas d. Kristof and Sheryl Wu. Not surprisingly there is a Simmons College team on the website that was established in 2009. Once again it shows that the Simmons community is active around the world and always on the forefront of community involvement. Take a peek at kiva.org and let me know what you think.