In this time of heated debates over politics and the future of our country, I recently read an article by James Fallows (The Atlantic, March 2016) that spoke of surprising resilience and hope in communities around the country. Fallows and his wife, Deborah, traveled by single engine plane to almost 50 towns and cities in the U.S. that had previously experienced some type of hardship.
After visiting the first half-dozen towns, the Fallows created an informal checklist of places where things seemed to work. This checklist ranged from focusing on local practical problems rather than divisive national politics, to welcoming newcomers, including those from other countries.
One thing they didn’t include in their list was a question about philanthropy or generosity of spirit. In my mind, that’s an oversight since a strong philanthropic culture is a sign of a thriving community.
Day in and day out, we at The Alaska Community Foundation, and our nine Affiliate Foundations around the state, see demonstrations of generosity and hope.
Individuals and organizations give what they have to show their love for their towns and villages. They send in donations or give online to take care of those who are suffering or to make their community more vibrant through arts or great trails. They step up to donate to their favorite nonprofits through Pick.Click.Give. And they contribute to a philanthropic endowment for the future, whether it’s for their own community or for the state.
The Fallows didn’t come to Alaska, but I wish they had. They would be impressed by the community spirit and vision for a better future that is being demonstrated across Alaska.