My Turn: Giving to your community

  • By AMY SKILBRED
  • Sunday, December 20, 2015 1:02am
  • Opinion

Earlier this year, the Juneau Community Foundation asked a handful of longtime local philanthropists a simple question: Why do you give? Their answers varied widely but intersected in one important way. All of the people we spoke with recognized that their individual actions, big or small, have the power to create lasting change in our community.

Julie and Peter Neyhart, who were named the Foundation’s Philanthropists of the Year in October, spoke to this idea when they accepted their award. The Neyharts’ generosity is a reflection of their awareness of each person’s role in making Juneau a better place.

“Juneau is a wonderful community filled with many and varied opportunities to enrich lives,” Julie Neyhart said. “The more all of us share, the better our community. Some share talent — we hear beautiful music. Some support our theaters — we read their names on the programs. Some support youth through scouting, 4-H, helping in classrooms or with school-related activities. Some always take time to chat with children wherever they meet them. Some donate to the Glory Hole, others work to end homelessness. We are all philanthropists. Together we make Juneau better.”

The Neyharts also highlighted the idea that philanthropy doesn’t always involve money. It involves giving what you have, whether it’s time, talent or treasure, in order to strengthen the bonds between us.

Other philanthropists cited a family history of philanthropy, a desire to support an important cause such as suicide prevention, a passion for a special project and an awareness of the fragility of good fortune. All of us, at one time or another, may need a hand.

As we reflect on Community Foundation Week and this giving season, we are proud to be one of the 750 community foundations nationwide that bring donors together, identify needs, convene community gatherings and make grants that build a stronger community.

The foundation makes philanthropy easy; we provide services that help people invest in the causes and organizations about which they are passionate. Donors direct gifts toward a wide range of interests and projects, including recreation programs, schools, scholarships, social services, arts program, cultural events or other nonprofit agencies. By pooling and investing individual donations the foundation helps support important philanthropic goals while creating a permanent endowment for future needs.

As you prepare for the holidays, take a moment to consider what and how you can give back to your community.

• Amy Skilbred is the executive director of the Juneau Community Foundation.

More in Opinion

Web
Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

Juneau residents pack a room at the downtown public library for a June 6 meeting of Eaglecrest Ski Area’s board of directors. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: Eaglecrest unplugged

Serving on a board or commission is hard work and that service… Continue reading

Downtown Juneau in late October of 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Mitigating the loss of tax revenue from cruise ship free Saturdays

The cruise ship free Saturday initiative presents us with a modified lesson… Continue reading

Leaders at Bartlett Regional Hospital listen to comments from residents during a forum Monday about proposed cuts to some services. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
My Turn: Bartlett board faces challenges

Once upon a time, Alaska’s capital had a well-run municipal hospital, but… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Letter: SEARHC’s goals seem likely to limit, rather than expand, health options in Juneau

Max Mertz’s comments at the Bartlett Regional Hospital public forum about SEARHC’s… Continue reading

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30. (Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times)
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

“Alaska Republicans back Trump after historic conviction in hush money case,” the… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Letter: Allow locals to have their town back once a week during the summer

Perhaps Nate Vallier shrugs when he sees eagles and bears (My Turn,… Continue reading

Juneau School District administrators and board members listen to a presentation about the district’s multi-million deficit during a Jan. 9 meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: School board recall not a cure for ‘failure to thrive’

Decline happens over time. Kinda like the way we gain weight and… Continue reading

Two skiers settle into a lift chair as they pass trees with fresh snow at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Dec. 20, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: Eaglecrest Ski Area attempting to do too much without sensible leadership

Ever wonder what the 50-year-old clearcut above the beginner slopes at Eaglecrest… Continue reading

A Carnival cruise ship is berthed Juneau’s cruise ship docks during the summer of 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Ignoring the consequences of ship-free Saturdays?

Backers of a cruise initiative to block large cruise ships from docking… Continue reading

Juneau School District administrators and board members review the updated budget for the current fiscal year during a Board of Education meeting April 16 at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: School board recall is about more than ‘angry moms set on being vengeful’

It’s time to set the record straight about the school board recall.… Continue reading

The 1,094-foot-long Norwegian Bliss docks in Juneau on April 9 to begin this year’s cruise ship season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: Consider the far-reaching and harmful consequences of Saturday cruise ship ban

The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council expresses our strong support for Protect… Continue reading