It’s the end of the year: a time of thinking over what’s gone by, and of all there is to come.
As 2014 comes to a close, we’ve been revisiting the words we loved this year. Here’s a simple gathering of quotations (whether funny, thoughtful, beautiful, wry, or otherwise) that were enjoyed by a few of our staff members. We hope you’re reading (or listening, audiobook fans!) and loving words too, and that your new year will be as full of wonderful new words and ideas.
“At the outset, Verna had not intended to kill anyone.”
“I call for help in silence; I make signals with the two arms of my soul, which are softer than algae, not, of course, to some friend firmly planted on the ground, but to a kind of crystallization of the tenderness whose seeming hardness makes me believe in its eternity.”
“And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky–so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.”
“I want to thank you for coming out of the closet. Again and again, over and over, for the rest of your life. At school, at work, at your kid’s daycare, at your brother’s wedding, at the doctor’s office. Thank you for sideswiping their stereotypes. I never get the chance to come out of the closet because my closet was always made of glass.”
“For if Jack Buggit could escape from the pickle jar, if a bird with a broken neck could fly away, what else might be possible? Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat’s blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, and that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”
At the age of 19, Patrick Leigh Fermor walked across Europe in 1933-34. Here he has just entered a barn in Germany where he will spend a snowy winter’s night:
“The composite smell of snow, wood, dust, cobwebs, mangolds, beetroots, fodder, cattlecake and cows’ breath was laced with an ammoniac tang from the plip-plop and the splash that sometimes broke the rhythm of the munching and the click of horns.”
“But now the snowplough’s thunder signals itself, and I watch the revolving yellow light reflect upward into white prodigious air, and hear the great bruising barge roar and rumble past the house as a steel plow swooshes high waves of whiteness up and over the gutter almost to the front of the house, and buries the mailbox.”
You know you want to save the world. You have a heart the size of our great State o’ Maine and finite finances. Where, oh, where to begin?
The good news is that there are some terrific resources out there to help you make good decisions that suit your priorities. Before your good intentions grind to a confused halt, take a look at some of these websites.
Where to start? A really terrific site to check out is Philanthropedia, Guide to Better Giving. It is a great tool to help you focus and to understand various strategies for giving. It answers questions you may not know you have!
Sometimes you have a good idea of who you’d like to give to, but you’d like some reliable nuts-and-bolts rating information* about how they use your hard-earned donated dollars.
* Keep in mind that different sites will use different grading scales when rating nonprofits, as outlined in this TEDTalk. This one is well worth a few minutes viewing time. It presents an interesting view of nonprofits’ spending strategies.
These sites can also provide some focus when you know you want your donation to go toward a particular area of need, but need to find an organization that is a good fit.
It isn’t easy to know who to trust when unsolicited pleas for donations come your way. It might be a phone call, an email, something in your mailbox, or someone at your door. The Federal Trade Commission has a few things to say on the subject.
And let’s not forget that when we indulge our urge to be generous, we do so with the blessing of the US Tax Code. Here are some tips from the IRS. Charitable giving can really pay off !
There are so many ways to make a difference. Finding what works for you can feel overwhelming. When opening your wallet seems like the best option, these resources may serve as guides. And, let’s just say it: there is nothing like the good feeling you get when you use your head to put your money where your heart is.
Happy Giving! Eileen of the Business and Government Team.