As economic times get tough, more and more people are asking how they can make the biggest difference right in their own backyard.

Local giving has even made its way into the opinions of the national media, causing many philanthropists to pay closer attention to their impact.

Sometimes the greatest needs really are right here in Kalamazoo County. As you explore giving opportunities, it can be helpful to read first-hand accounts of why other philanthropists have been inspired by uncovering local needs that they simply were not aware of.

Over the years, researchers have consistently validated the important emotional elements of giving to familiar and nearby organizations to foster the rewarding sense of connection. Local giving is a great option for today’s donors, who value seeing the impacts of their gifts in the community.

Here are three suggestions for anyone who wants to get started on a “give local” journey:

1. Scan the local news

Whether you’re reading a print newspaper, watching the local news or trying out a new streaming app, staying in touch with local news can help guide your philanthropic decisions. Spend five minutes scrolling through the local news for three days in a row, and you might be surprised at how much you learn about your own community. Make a mental note of issues that raise your eyebrows or make you ask yourself “I hope someone is doing something about that.”

Tip: Not sure what your options are for local news? We recommend starting with the media partners at the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative.

2. Search it

With your local news research in hand, run a few quick Google searches with the key words you’ve identified, along with the terms “nonprofit,” “charity,” and “Kalamazoo County”. Sometimes these searches will illuminate organizations you might have heard of or even be involved with already. At the very least, you will begin to frame your own description of the local causes you care about.

3. Reach out to KZCF

Our mission is to mobilize people, resources and expertise to advance racial, social and economic justice. This mission is supported by community through the work of nonprofit organizations and people like you who are engaged in finding solutions.

KZCF has relationships with local nonprofits are addressing the issues you’d like to learn more about. We can provide advice about how your gifts can make the greatest possible impact where you live.

Kalamazoo Community Foundation is committed to being flexible and responsive to the community’s greatest needs. We also work closely with legal, tax, and wealth advisors to ensure that you are maximizing the financial elements of your charitable giving plan.

We look forward to working with you to make an impact where and how it matters most.

Want more info on giving locally? Contact our Donor Relations team today via email or call 269.381.4416.