By Aleza Freeman
November 13 was National Kindness Day, so it only seems fitting that today is National Philanthropy Day. Our kindness meters are already working. Let's amp them up to give back to the community.
Maybe you can't make it rain like billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott, who over the past seven months, generously gave "$1,990,800,000 to 343 organizations." But when it comes to your favorite charity, every penny counts.
Even with no cash to spare, there's something else invaluable to give – your time.
Volunteering your time to nonprofits not only makes a difference for those in need, but it also provides you with a sense of purpose and teaches you valuable skills, according to job website indeed.com.
It might also be good for your health! One study found that volunteering was associated with greater increases in psychological well-being.
What is philanthropy?
What is National Philanthropy Day?
Following the creation of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 15 as National Philanthropy Day. "Communities all throughout the world have celebrated the importance of this occasion ever since," according to the holiday tracking website National Today.
Though unrelated, 1986 is the same year that millions of Americans raised money for poverty charities by holding hands to form a chain around the country in the infamous "Hands Across America" charity event.
How to celebrate National Philanthropy Day
Get your glitter on: Light up your life and the lives of others at Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. When you drive through the 2.5 miles of millions of twinkling lights, a portion of your ticket benefits Speedway Children’s Charities, helping children in need across America.
Glittering Lights provides fun for the whole family and other charitable opportunities tonight from 4:45 p.m. to 9 p.m., and throughout the winter holidays into January.
Lend a hand locally: Reach out to your favorite charity or sign up to find an opportunity to help on a website like Volunteer Match. If you still aren't sure where to volunteer, research causes that are important to you. You're sure to find a good fit.
Plenty of charities in Las Vegas can use extra help, especially during the holiday season. Check out our calendar to see upcoming nonprofit opportunities in Las Vegas.
Adopt a fuzzy family member: Cue the sad Sarah McLachlan music. There are several pet charities in Las Vegas, like the Animal Foundation and the NSPCA, and they're all overcrowded with lonely, loving animals looking for a home.
Not sure you want to adopt? Take your time getting to know the kitties at Hearts Alive Village, while hanging out and sipping a beverage in the Cat Cafe.
Not only will adopting a new pet help clear the shelters, but you'll gain a new best friend.
Clean out your closet: Weed through your closet and fill a box with last season's shoes, shirts and other clothing items for a local shelter, such as Safe Nest or Las Vegas Rescue Mission. If you have leftover food and supplies from a former pet, donate them to an animal organization (or see the suggestion above this one).
Shout out to local students
Las Vegas Day School students are branching out on National Philanthropy Day by planting 15 trees at Firefighters Memorial Park. Read more about their efforts in the Nevada Business Press.
How are you celebrating National Philanthropy Day? Share your plans in the comments below!