by The Dallas Foundation President and CEO Matthew Randazzo
With vacations winding down and school just around the corner, families are returning to the city and setting their schedules for the year. It’s the perfect time to encourage new giving habits and help nonprofits recover from the donation “drought” they often experience during the summer months.
Beat the Heat
As temperatures continue to climb during August and September, many people don’t have the means to keep their families cool and safe. Consider donating to organizations that provide payment assistance for electric bills and air conditioner repairs. Some nonprofits even distribute free fans and air conditioner units to low-income families during the hotter months.
Homeless shelters will also become overcrowded when the heat is at an all-time high. Call your local shelter and ask them what their greatest need is this summer.
Invest in Education
Many nonprofits provide donors with opportunities to inspire kids to keep learning both inside and outside of the classroom. With back-to-school season right around the corner, the cost of supplies and resources can add up quickly for families preparing their children for the new academic year. Consider investing in your local school by donating to school supply drives or assisting the PTA.
Many families move or clean out their homes during the summer months. Be sure to donate the clothing items that you do not need anymore to your local shelter to help provide children needing support with first day of school outfits.
Fight Food Insecurity
Many students depend on free or reduced-price meals during the school year, and often times it is their only source of food throughout the day. In food-insecure populations, a lack of access to healthcare and proper nutrition can lead to a higher risk of diseases for families and developing children in the long-run.
Consider volunteering with or donating non-perishable goods to your local food pantry. You can even start your own food drive by working with local businesses or organizations that provide underprivileged families with food and nutritional assistance. By investing in programs that provide kids with enough to eat between their school meals, you can help them focus on their education by eliminating hunger as a distraction.
Volunteering is a great extracurricular activity for kids after school or on the weekends. Many nonprofits offer programs that teach kids about charitable giving and volunteering.
There are plenty of opportunities for young adults who want to meet new people and get connected to local philanthropies. Many nonprofit organizations host membership drives during the autumn months, and as we say goodbye to summer, southwest residents welcome the start of the fall charitable event season with black-tie affairs, luncheons, and other activities that put the “fun” in fundraising.