This Thanksgiving, Celebrate Charity

November 26, 2014

With the grocery shopping done and the turkey just hours from the oven, now is when many New Jerseyans pause to reflect on the things in their lives for which they are thankful. Good health usually tops the list, as well as happiness, time spent with family, and personal or professional growth.

But as we look out our kitchen windows to our neighborhoods and our towns, we can also be thankful for the good work of fellow New Jerseyans who give back to their communities.

After all, it is our friends and neighbors who make our schools better, our streets safer, and our parks cleaner. People who give back – as volunteers, donors, or both – have always been what makes good communities great.

As the Community Foundation of New Jersey celebrates 35 years of helping New Jerseyans fuel positive change in their communities this month – and as America’s first community foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, turns 100 – we are thankful for the many thoughtful, idea-driven philanthropists whose countless achievements have made our state stronger.

Evidence of their work abounds. The man in Little Falls who saw a need and sponsored a pedestrian safety program in his downtown. The family whose endowment helped bring a handicap-accessible playground to Parsippany. The individual who wanted to do something about gun violence while avoiding politics and sponsored a buyback program in Asbury Park. The volunteers who went from one Meadowlands motel to the next raising awareness of human trafficking. The families who helped return horseshoe crabs to the Delaware Bay after Hurricane Sandy wiped out their habitat.

We hope good works like these, whether done in partnership with a community foundation (as these were) or not, serve as an inspiration to all New Jerseyans who aspire to give back.