The drive to 60

By Observer editorial June 14, 2013 10:27 am
Most of us won’t have Andrew Carnegie’s 2,800-library legacy. But we can improve our own legacy by giving as generously as possible to causes in need.

There’s a lot of need out there. There are tons of good causes seeking contributions.

One such organization that has now been an integral part of the community for 60 years is United Way. At first it was called Community Chest. But whatever its name, it has played a key role in making the community’s human service agencies thrive.

Usually, United Way conducts a fall fundraising drive. In recent years, due to the recession, fundraising has lagged behind goals despite the best efforts of many individuals working for the betterment of the community. This year, to try to make up the difference, United Way has added a summer campaign.

The summer campaign comes with a unique twist. Since the organization is celebrating 60 years of service to the community, it is asking people to “Stand Up and be Counted,” the summer campaign’s theme, by giving at least $60.

These gifts are an investment in the community’s human service agencies. United Way donations help such groups as the American Red Cross, the Mt. Emily Safe Center and the Court Appointed Special Advocates program survive and thrive.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Oregon ranks in the top half nationally in both volunteerism, at 34 percent, and average charitable contributions as a percentage of discretionary income, at 4.6 percent. That makes Oregon the 20th most generous state.

That’s good. Oregon, however, can do better. A good place to start is one generous $60 gift at a time.