A Perspective Through the Smithsonian Museum
Philanthropy is a term that those in the nonprofit sector understand all too well. Raise money for our organizations (or clients’ organizations) so we can achieve certain missions or address societal challenges. Well, living in the Washington, DC metro area can have its perks. My son often asks me what I do, as it can be difficult to visualize philanthropy and fundraising. Now, I actually have a reference!
The Smithsonian’s Museum of National History has an exhibit called “Giving in America” and is focused on successful campaigns (think the ALS Bucket Challenge of 2014) and causes (think March of Dimes tin cans for coin collection) that have shaped our history. As their website states: “Giving has taken many forms throughout American history and has become firmly woven into the American experience. Every year millions of Americans contribute money, time, talent, and resources to causes across the country and throughout the world. Philanthropy is not unique to the United States, but Americans’ ideals of participation, equality, resourcefulness, and shared responsibility have shaped a distinctive form of giving in America.”
I think it’s wonderful that philanthropy is viewed in a historical context. We often have tunnel vision and don’t immediately see the impact of our work, not just for the organizations we serve, but for our country as well. I am proud to contribute to the public sector and raise significant funding for organizations in need. I hope you feel the same way and find value in the work you do each day – every little bit counts.