As the year draws to a close, now is the perfect time to remember the organizations that help to bring happiness to your life, and to the lives of others. We still have a few days left to make our charitable donations for the 2011 tax year.
I once read a short book entitled The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth, by Richard Paul Evans.
I especially like lesson five: Give Back.
Evans says, "Hoarding wealth will make your life small and cold. Giving will expand it." He goes on to say, "And service, through sharing our wealth and our time, is love made visible."
Evans believes in financial karma: that "we get back when we give", and I agree. I believe that life, like gardening, is all about sowing what you hope to reap.
I admit that I don’t always feel like I have extra money to donate. But between the two, I usually find that I have more money than time to contribute. There are so many worthwhile charitable organizations that are doing so much for all of us. So I make an effort to make at least one donation during each tax year and I encourage you to do the same.
You probably already have a favorite charity. There are many groups that help to preserve nature, create public gardens, educate potential green gardeners, etc. But if you are looking for a new group to make a donation to, the IRS has an online resource that can help.
On the IRS site, you can put in a keyword and a state, and the site will display a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. You can search for keywords such as nature, wildlife, garden, Chesapeake, DC, trees or anything else that comes to mind.
There are also other sites, such as Guidestar.com and charitynavigator.org but these lists don’t seem to be as comprehensive.
Albert Einstein: It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
Anne Frank: No one has ever become poor by giving.
John D. Rockefeller Jr.: Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.
Maya Angelou: I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
Peyton Conway March: There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.
Thornton Wilder: Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.
Winston Churchill: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.