By Chuck Keller
November is National Philanthropy Month and people are encouraged to do something a little extra to make the world a better place. It’s just that simple. Really. Just ask Elise Hyder.
Elise, a classically trained opera singer, works for a non-profit (Beech Acres) and is also the 2020 chair for the Cincinnati chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In both of those roles she brings joy and relief to the lives of people.
What is philanthropy? It’s a fancy word for helping other “for being kind to others, for serving others” in big and small ways, Elise says. “I see it in Fort Thomas all the time. There’s a strong thread of philanthropy here.”
There is. Just look around and you will see friends and neighbors involved in projects that may take them across the street or across the globe. We may call it community service or a club project or a church outreach but it’s a way to improve the human condition. Elise adds, “Anybody can make a difference.”
This year she chairs Greater Cincinnati’s National Philanthropy Day gala. It is usually a big affair and recognizes and awards private and corporate philanthropic enterprises. This year, she says, “One of the award winners is the RC Durr Foundation, which has quietly given over $25 million to NKY nonprofits for the past 20 years.” They will also recognize the work of Bill and Jenny McCloy who have “dedicated their lives to improving our community and their impact will be felt for generations,” Elise claims. They work primarily to help those with developmental disabilities. And they will also recognize Jerry Green who when he retired as a GE engineer went to law school and has donated his legal services to the Legal Aid Society. He is also the board chair of the Taft Museum where he sometimes gets to use both his legal and engineering abilities. These are certainly worthy recipients for public recognition because they represent the very best in all of us.
|Elise Hyder with winners Jenny and Bill McCloy|
The event is November 5 and tickets for the virtual event are $25. Elise adds that “$5 of every ticket will support a diversity program” the the group runs. She adds that “Kristyn Hartman with Channel 9 is our emcee. She’s so full of positivity.”
So what can you do? Elise observes that “Great things happen every day but we just don’t hear about it”… because we “just go out and do something nice for somebody.” We don’t seek any recognition. And that’s the best kind of philanthropy. She says “there is a kindness ripple effect” and when we see that then we “build up each other.” It’s as simple as buying someone’s coffee or donating your time, talent, or money to a project. And continue that afterwards because once a behavior becomes consistent it becomes a habit and this is a habit that benefits everyone.
|Elise Hyder developing the virtual award show|
November is when we slide into the holiday season. We have our favorite charities that we support with an annual check. But I want to challenge you to do something more. Get involved. That’s a lot to ask during a pandemic but it’s more important than ever. We need each other more than ever. Elise Hyder says that, “I love, helping people.” And when you are part of something that is bigger than yourself, you help make it a better world.
So get out and do something nice for someone because, no matter how divided you think we are, at the end of the day we are still family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow citizens. We need to look out for each other. To paraphrase Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, we must be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for positive change.