There is a group for parents with children of special needs. There is a group providing services for the elderly. There is a group supporting people with AIDS. In my small town of 85,000 people, there are over 100 active non-profit organizations.
I am intimately involved with two such organizations. One’s focus is on the needs of at-risk children; the other promotes the choral music tradition.
From this network I’ve developed within these two organizations, my colleagues are involved in more than 1/2 of the other organizations around town. And even then, some of these really remarkable women travel globally with international charity organizations to places like Bosnia and South Africa to spread support and aid.
But what if there were no non-profit, or “charity” organizations? What if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t exist? What if the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, or Susan G. Koman Foundation didn’t exist? What if the Parent-Teacher Organization never got launched? What void would exist in our world?
One organization in town provides hundreds of meals per day to needy seniors. And if it didn’t exist… ?
What would happen to the populations who are served by all these volunteer organizations? What if people stopped volunteering? What if money didn’t exist for this sort of project? What sort of world would we live in?
I believe in the work that many of these organizations do. I believe in the commitment of volunteers; support of donors; and the gratitude of the patrons. Clearly these organizations exist for a reason.
But try, for just a moment, to imagine a world in which these don’t exist. And then understand the importance behind them.