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Karl and Heather's Journey:

Cents of Community

Of the many cutbacks we’ve implemented throughout Project Money, the decision to eliminate charitable donations/events was both the hardest and easiest we’ve made. It doesn’t take a financial guru to add-up the costs of a Saturday evening fundraising event:

  • Purchase two tickets
  • Secure a sitter
  • Pay for downtown parking
  • Pay at the cash bar
  • Dive wallet-first into the silent auction
  • And the list goes on…

Although sound financial logic won the day, the angsts of social withdrawal & no longer helping make a difference for others, steadily grew. That was until we took a step and evaluated ways we could continue to give to the community without spending money.

Community Service: The Madison metro area has endless volunteer opportunities for most everyone. We have contributed our time and sweat equity to Clean Lakes Alliance, the Badger Prairie Needs Network & Community Garden, the Henry Vilas Zoo and the Madison Public Library Foundation. Check out your organization of choice’s website for volunteer signups and information (many have kid-friendly opportunities as well)!

Company-sponsored Philanthropy: For me, this November is ‘Growvember!’ For the first time in my adult life, I am not going to shave for a month. Why? Because for each day I submit a beard-progressing picture to my employer they will donate $1 to the Movember Foundation

no beard

Company Matching: Many employers will match dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount for employees. Searching your company’s intranet pages or inquiring with Human Resources is the best way to find out what options are available.

Community Outreach: Driving meals to shut-ins, mentoring for the Boys and Girls Club, donating clothing/toys, and doing maintenance repairs are just a sliver of the opportunities available. These are great ways to get out in the community with friends and neighbors, and meet some pretty incredible folks along the way.

So our advice is don’t stop giving to organizations/causes that are dear to your hearts…however recognize ‘giving’ can come in many forms other than bills and coins. 


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