Thursday, November 13, 2014

Philanthropic Foursome

The major takeaways from last night’s program: “The State of Nonprofits in Howard County: Perceptions, Challenges and Opportunities” were, in my estimation:

  • Be mindful of the opportunities to help, and don’t be afraid to begin a dialogue, ask questions, and take action.

  • When considering volunteer possibilities, think about what strikes a chord with you personally.  Perhaps think and feel in equal measure; a true head/heart collaboration.  What causes evoke an emotional response? That might provide a useful internal compass.

The panel spoke before a Standing Room Only crowd at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center.  There were many elected officials and activists in the audience.  Courtney Watson delivered brief remarks.  She spoke about the election returns and, importantly, vowed to continue to work for the policies and causes dear to many of the assembled.  She received a warm round of applause.  Jon Weinstein, the Council Member-elect from the 1st Council District, the three Delegates-elect from the 12th HD, Clarence Lam, Terri Hill and Eric Ebersole, and Judge of the Orphans’ Court-elect Nicole Bormel Miller were also in attendance.

Considering the fatigue levels of many of the assembled, coming so soon after a long and bruising election season, the Columbia Democratic Club and Alan Brody, the evening’s moderator, really pulled off a spectacular event.

As Council Member Watson did, I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of two of her key campaign staffers who were present last night: Anna Mudd and Dylan Goldberg.  Having just completed a marathon, while running at a sprint pace, they both exhibited impressive vim and vigor levels.  Today’s campaign workers must be doing something right. Clean living?  Perhaps. In any event, they are rising stars and we shall hear more from them down the road.

But I digress.  The Philanthropic Foursome of Bita Dayhoff, Joan Driessen, Mickey Gomez, and Beverly White-Seals were at the epicenter of last night’s gathering/educational experience. 

The highlights, in my mind, were those moments when the panelists or audience members discussed personal experiences and how those events helped lead to a Pivotal Question (What can I do?  How can I help?  Where do I go now?) and/or a Helping Action (Knowing X, I was able to do Y). 

While the information on the challenges being faced by Howard County nonprofits was interesting, the stories that were uplifting and/or resulted in the transmission of useful information (In order to address specific challenge Z, here are some resources you might consider…) were, far and away, the most engaging and productive elements of the program.  Those were the memorable moments, and the ones most likely to motivate potential volunteers to become actual volunteers.

With that in mind, I encourage you to visit the websites of the organizations that were represented so ably on the panel:

That is all for today. 

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

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