The generosity of the people of Renton is paying off | FOR GOOD FOR EVER
We live in a country rich in the spirit of generosity. From our churches to our charities, Americans work hard to make life better for those in need.
I see it every day in the Renton area. From the multitude of people who volunteer their time, to those who make cash contributions, to those who choose careers in a helping profession and provide frontline services.
Because of them, people in need can pick up fresh food in our food banks, receive life-saving prescriptions from a free clinic, get clean clothes for school, find safe housing, receive necessary training to get a job, access drug and alcohol treatment, enjoy the arts, learn to be independent, graduate high school, go to college, get counseling, and so much more.
As the executive director of the Renton Community Foundation, I work closely with the philanthropic community. What I see is both inspiring and heartening.
We have organizations working to support almost every aspect of humanity. From the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul that help people put food on the table, to the Way Back Inn and Vision House that help transition the homeless to safe places to live, to emerging groups like Birthday Dreams that provide birthdays for children who would otherwise watch that special day pass by without recognition.
It is said that to be truly generous, a person must give regardless of what they get in return. I can attest to the fact that people didn’t choose to work in the nonprofit hoping to make money – quite the contrary. Their passion is to help someone in need, and that passion is palpable; you have but to talk with them to catch the “buzz.”
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t big benefits for working in the field of philanthropy, because even simple acts of generosity are good for you. They build up a person’s confidence, instill a positive attitude, deepen relationships, and generally make you feel good.
Yes, it feels good when you help a woman get off food stamps or find the transportation she needs to get to a job interview. It feels good to give a struggling child the tools he needs to stay in school and graduate. It feels good to know that because of your efforts, a family will sleep safe and dry for one more night. It even feels good to help a senior living on a fixed income pay for the emergency pet care needed to save the only companion he or she might have in the world.
The depth and breadth of the philanthropic efforts in Renton are extensive, and the spirit of generosity is strong. We are people who care – and care a lot.
Two new funds were established in the latter part of 2013. The Norma Denzer Cugini Arts Fund was established by Ms. Cugini's children in honor of her tireless efforts to help establish and maintain the Renton Annual Art Show. Annual grants will fund cash awards to student winners and operations at the art show. The second fund, the Renton Senior Center Fund was established by an anonymous donor who loves to visit the Renton Senior Activity Center and wanted to honor the many volunteers who work there. Grants will go towards funding the annual volunteer recognition dinner and other volunteer activities.
$40,000 in SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE!
This year, the board has approved $40,000 to be made available through a variety of scholarship funds, including:
- Helen Dyrdal Scholarship Fund (for graduates/undergraduates/tech. students)
- Dr. Dolores Gibbons Scholarship Fund
- Dr. Gary Kohlwes Scholarship Fund (for graduate students)
- Jeremy Gidlund Memorial Scholarship Fund (for special needs students)
- Betty Jacobsen Scholarship Fund
- Sue Carlson Scholarship Fund (for entrepreneurial women)
- Carl & Betty Rochet Scholarship Fund (for communications/journalism students)
Basic requirements are the same. Applicants must have graduated from a Renton high school or live within the Renton School District boundaries. They must be a U.S. citizen and be able to demonstrate a family income of $50,000 or below for 2013. Please click on the "Scholarships" button to access the Application and Guidelines. Deadline for completed applications is 5:00 p.m. on April 15, 2014.