‘Tis the Season to endure countless promotional messages suggesting we embrace the holiday spirit with purchases ranging from the latest cell phones to his-and-her luxury cars.
You’ve probably also noticed your mail boxes suddenly brimming with stirring messages from nonprofit organizations imploring you to support their cause.
Abundance and need surround us, especially at this time of year. A time when many of us want to make a year-end charitable donation but aren’t really sure who to support, or often why.
My wife Terri and I have both been approached by numerous people on the street asking for help. We want to assist them but can’t help wondering if the money we give them will be used for the purpose they are asking. In these situations we are all called to make value judgements. Most of the time we give and trust our offering will be used in a good way.
But that’s not the personal philosophy we subscribe to when investing in nonprofits. We won’t write a check just because it’s a good cause. We support an organization because we are confident it has the capability and competence to ensure our gift will be leveraged to make a difference in someone’s life.
At Penn-Mar, we take stewardship very seriously. People support us out of the abundance of their hearts and we want to be certain they understand, and often are invited to witness firsthand, the impact their investment is making toward our mission.
I have a thousand stories I can tell about the amazing things that happen at Penn-Mar but they don’t have the same impact as inviting people to visit us to see for themselves the work we are doing.
Talking to potential supporters about our mission, educating them about the challenges faced by the people we support, taking them on-the-job to see our people with disabilities working alongside their co-workers as valuable team members. That’s the game changer.
It doesn’t take long for them to recognize that these folks are discovering their best life through the supports we offer.
Our goal is to build a community of supporters who feel good about the “why” of their investment. Hence the theme of our year-end Annual Appeal: “Just Like You.” We need our donors to understand that people with disabilities want the same things we all do:
A job that pays well and gives us purpose;
Relationships that bring us joy and companionship;
Equal, respectful treatment out in the community;
A chance to make our own decisions with the support of people who care about us.
Our mission is to help people with disabilities discover a life of purpose. We believe that everyone, regardless of circumstance, should have that life and all the rights that go along with it.
In the past year alone, Penn-Mar has renovated a new facility in Shrewsbury (Far Hills) to transform and house our Pennsylvania Day Program; recently completed the renovation of the Day Program area in our Freeland, MD location; merged with developmental disabilities service provider Change, Inc. (Westminster, MD); and successfully continued to secure paid employment for those we support in the community.
The stark reality is that government funding alone is not enough to support all of the programs and professionals needed to accomplish our goals.
But you can make a difference with your support, and we hope you will, understanding that your investment in our mission is a sound one, ensuring that people “Just Like You” will experience a meaningful life.