Kalamazoo holds a special place in all of our hearts. It’s where we live, work and play, and have the opportunity to join with others to help positively shape the community in many ways. One of these is through charitable giving.
"Positive changes in our community are fueled by people who make the time to give back, no matter how big or small," says Ean Hamilton, an estate attorney with DeMent & Marquardt and a member of KZCF’s Professional Advisor Council. "Giving back to our community sends a message that says, ‘I believe my community is valuable and worth it.’"
KZCF manages several core funds under the umbrella of Love Where You Live. Helping to address our community’s greatest needs, these funds also enable donors to give in areas they are most passionate about, including economic and community development, education and learning, environment, health, housing, youth development, individuals and families, and scholarship.
The Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) is one recipient of Love Where You Live funds. The KLC is a nonprofit focused on increasing the literacy rate for adults in Kalamazoo County through Community Literacy Centers that deploy volunteer tutors. The 2011 illiteracy rate was 19 percent in Kalamazoo and nine percent in Portage, compared to 18 percent across the state.
Ultimately, adult learners are supported in reaching their personal goal: earning a GED, entering community college or entering the workforce. In addition, parents who increase their ability to read can foster literacy in their children and support their academic progress.
Another initiative fueled by Love Where You Live funds is coordinated by WMU’s Homer Stryker School of Medicine. A new, innovative educational curriculum is being designed to train medical students in caring for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. This project will create a transgender patient education program and related medical education, delivered each year to all undergraduate medical students and graduate/residents in primary care training.
This project directly addresses a longstanding health care need. The transgender community, in particular, is vastly underserved due to a lack of specific medical knowledge and cultural competency. Because most medical schools and residency programs have minimal training for LGBT health care issues in their curricula, this project is positioned to become a sought-after model in the medical profession.
"Positive changes like these that come from giving back show future generations that we care about them and the future of our community," Hamilton adds. "It’s not about how big a gift a person makes. It’s about giving what you can to show that you care about your community and that we’re all in this together."
Each year, according to Charity Navigator, about 29 percent of giving to nonprofit organizations occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Recognizing that feasting, celebrating and giving seem to go together, the Community Foundation annually joins other nonprofits and foundations in the region and the nation for Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is a day set aside at the beginning of the holiday season to promote and encourage charitable donations and volunteering. The campaign was started by the United Nations Foundation in 2012 with more than 2,500 charitable organizations participating across the country.
In Kalamazoo, Giving Tuesday has become the Community Foundation’s major annual fundraising event for its Love Where You Live funds. On November 28, 2017, KZCF held its third annual Giving Tuesday event at Bell’s Back Room. "It’s an awesome opportunity to network and connect with others who give and make a positive impact in our community," says Raven Britt, KZCF development officer.
• Join us for the next Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018.
• Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates about KZCF news and events.
• Contact a Donor Relations representative to learn more.