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EDITORIAL: Non-profits can help feed the soul By Bob Phillips
Jan 18, 2017

Who’s building the future? Or maybe the real question about the future for Green Valley is how long can anyone — you, me — pursue leisure or recreation without feeding your soul? An often-ignored fact is that the constantly sought after “active adult life” too often leads to depression, drinking, an emptiness. All of us are sustained, whether we acknowledge it or not, by our community. Thus we have an obligation to the place where we live. Ask yourself, what was your goal for coming here? How do you get real fulfillment from this time in your life? Our nonprofit organizations offer us the tools to find the answers.

In the past, helping a neighbor was the way we lived. Then we knew our neighbors as we had grown up together and shared triumphs and tragedies. That time is gone but the need is not. Into that void steps the nonprofit agency. They fill that critical human need to help others, to protect our children, our seniors, our environment, to be a meaningful part of our community, to make a difference.

How do we get involved with the plethora of local nonprofits in Green Valley? That’s easy. Figure out what it is that you have to give, what you are interested in, and what you want to learn, then call the Greater Green Valley Community Foundation at 520-625-4556 and ask which is the best  fit for you.

And while we consider how our nonprofits sustain us and our community, it is fair to ask how do we sustain them? Donors and funders of nonprofits always want to know if the nonprofit that they are helping with money or volunteer time can be sustainable once the money and the volunteer go away. May I suggest that one of the biggest myths about nonprofits concerns sustainability. The fact is that most funders to nonprofits want to give money for only one to two years, and demand that the recipient agency prove that it can become self-sufficient, i.e. not need more money from them, by the end of that period.

Myths are monsters best slain by facts that point out the obvious to the previously oblivious. While we all realize that a business becomes more successful (sustainable) when it sells more stuff or provides more services, we tend to overlook the fact that as a nonprofit becomes more successful in providing the services it was created to provide, its costs go up while its revenue stays the same because it isn’t making a profit. That’s why we call them nonprofits. Success equals more clients, more staff and more expenses without proportional increase in funding. Get the picture? So, once you  and the nonprofit that meets your need to serve, to be useful and fits your interests, stick with it for the long haul.

Once there are no more hungry or poor, no more lonely and sick, no more threats to our environment or schools that need supplies or teachers, then you can get back to that life of leisure and recreation, that active adult life that you thought you came here to get. I bet you’ll find another nonprofit to help.

Bob Phillips is director of the NonProfit Learning Institute of the Greater Green Valley Community Foundation.

For more information on its training and service programs or to make a comment, contact him via email at: rtp1844@gmail.com