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Give to Live, Live to Give

09/30/2011

In less than a week, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) and more than 300 nonprofits     across the Tri-Cities and Greater Richmond region will be taking part in the Amazing Raise 2011. Starting at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5th, and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 6th, this 36-hour online give-a-thon via GiveRichmond.org is an opportunity for donors to help turn their donations into a grand prize of $10,000 for their favorite nonprofit.

Whether it is in making a gift of $50 during this event or in sharing this link, this 36-hour Amazing Raise challenge reminds all of us that we can make a difference.

While preparing for this event here at the VHS, I did some digging in our online catalog and found some inspirational materials, both manuscript collections and articles that document philanthropists from Virginia’s past and present. Some of these examples include:

  •  A 1907 monetary donation from Andrew Carnegie in honor of Mary Custis Lee to the Home For Needy Confederate Women. (Mss1 L5144 a 1873-2138)
  • The Sydney and Frances Lewis collection, which documents the couples’ interest in theater, dance, and the arts and their various philanthropic activities (Mss1 L5888 b FA2)
  • A more recent nonprofit organization is the Central Virginia Fallen Biker Committee, Inc. This organization was founded in 2009 to provide assistance and support to bikers suffering illness, injury, or death. (Mss4 C3337 a 1)
  • And the manuscript collection of the Virginia Home for Boys. (Mss3 V81954 a)

After looking at these collections, I realized a few things. Without philanthropy, communities cannot thrive. Philanthropy is not a profession, but a way of life that makes living better for others.  The results of philanthropy are beyond calculation.

I invite you to join our VHS team for this challenge. There are no benchwarmers!

Elaine Hagy is the senior grants officer at the Virginia Historical Society

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