Their sacrifices will result in a stronger community | Village Green Update

There is a group of 12 volunteers in Kingston who make up the Village Green Foundation board who have been working tirelessly for 10 years to raise $8.2 million


According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the U.S. Most are in constant fundraising mode.

We get calls at dinner time, attend events and buy cookie dough and wrapping paper we don’t need, all in the name of fundraising. We are a remarkably generous society. In 2011, Americans contributed $298 billion to causes that mattered to them. While it does feel good to support the causes beyond ourselves, philanthropy at its highest level can be transformative.

There is a group of 12 volunteers in Kingston who make up the Village Green Foundation board who have been working tirelessly for 10 years to raise $8.2 million to build a community center to house a new library, Boys & Girls Club, senior center and community meeting space. It is truly a Herculean effort for a small community of 1,700. Collectively, they have volunteered hundreds of hours.

Perhaps more impressive, they have nearly all made the largest personal financial pledges of their lives, just shy of a staggering half-million dollars. The gifts vary in size but they represent commensurate sacrifice.

One board member at first seemed almost offended that she was being asked to make a large financial pledge on top of the years of donating her most precious commodity — time. After what she described as a series of long and spirited conversations with her husband, she made a $15,000 pledge. The pledge, she said, was a “lifestyle-changing” stretch gift, meaning she would have to make changes to how she lived her life to complete the multi-year pledge. A week later, she increased her pledge by $5,000. A week later, she said she wanted to tell her friends what she had done and ask them to join her. The gift became a reflection of her values, hopes and dreams. The sacrifice for a cause vitally important to her was transformational.

The other board-member stories include a widow on a fixed income who contributes the $5,000 she is able to save each year; and a young father of two, early in his career, who says he is investing in the community where his kids will grow up. In yet another case, a board member is making a six-figure gift made possible from an inheritance, saying, “What better way to honor my mother’s memory?”

We are fortunate that 12 fellow Kingston citizens have made the commitment to build a needed community center for the benefit of generations to come. Because of their sacrifice. Kingston will be a stronger community. They have reached 75 percent of the goal. The community has been generous, but to break ground in April 2015 will require an all-hands effort.

We all seek purpose in our lives. Many find it in raising children, in their place of worship or in service. Making a “lifestyle-changing” gift to a cause that is important to you can be transformative — giving you a sense of purpose, fulfillment and hope. Find your purpose.

And don’t forget the Scavenger Hunt Adventure on June 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., starting and ending at the Village Green.  It’s a fundraiser for the Village Green Community Center, jointly sponsored with the Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Kitsap Regional Library. See you there.

— Daniel Johnson is the executive director of the Village Green Foundation.