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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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A culture of giving (06/20/2007)
Giving comes down to an individual desire to make our society better. A community with a strong commitment to giving - be it money, time or other resources - is a community that cares about, and for, each other. Winona is such a community.

Our caring is evidenced in the quantity and quality of programs offered by area nonprofits. Local business and individual support of these programs and events is impressive. Typically, Winona area businesses receive several requests a week for support of everything from food shelf donations to the Little League. No business can give to everything, but here in Winona, we sure try. Gifts range from in-kind donation of services, to cash gifts, to the giving of time.

In today's society of "what's in it for me" it does make you wonder why individuals and businesses give. Beyond the desire to make our society better, there is another reality of philanthropy - it makes us all more reliant on each other. And a community that relies on each other then supports and cares for each other. The business who gives $25 to the prom or the one that gives $100,000 to a local museum are both building and caring for the community because they are investing in it for the good of all of us. It's this investment that creates the sense of community that makes Winona such a fabulous place to live.

A thriving community is generally defined by economic growth. Winona's strong entrepreneurial roots and economic success benefit the community as a whole. The entrepreneurial spirit and giving goes well beyond what businesses give themselves. Corporate leadership in Winona believes in supporting the community and by their example therefore support their employees' efforts to do the same. This means families giving financially as well as through corporate programs that offer volunteers and matching dollars for employees' community efforts. Successful entrepreneurs give back to the community which has helped to make them successful. One community organization alone stewarded gifts from individuals and local businesses and in 2006 gave back over $1.25 million to local charities and community initiatives. That's one organization alone. Imagine all the other organizations, gifts, in-kind resources and direct giving that are not recorded or captured in statistics. It boggles the mind.

Winona's culture of giving is deeply rooted in the community. So the next time you are planning an event for a youth production, a community fund-raiser or just need help to do something great for our community - just ask for help, and you'll be amazed that when you mention the benefits for the Winona area, how much support will be right behind you to ensure success!

Lisa Fakler is president of the Winona Community Foundation



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