28 DAYS TO SHARE THE LOVE

By Caitlin Switzer

“There is plenty of generosity in Montrose,” says Rob Harper, general manager of Cobble Creek Golf Community, where the Fourth Annual Angel Tree Program collected gifts for more than 200 kids this Christmas (see above). Now, some local community leaders want to continue the holiday spirit of giving throughout the New Year and into February, with the “28 Days of Giving” campaign.

MONTROSE—(January1) It was just a week before Christmas, but the crowd of community leaders who packed into Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli on Dec. 18 were not there just for the free cinnamon rolls, or to discuss shopping or gifts—at least not in the traditional sense. What organizers Adam Miller and Melanie Hall had in mind was more of a gift to the community—a paradigm shift toward a more generous Montrose. The subject of the gathering was, “28 Days of Giving,” and participants were asked to envision February, 2013 as a full month of charitable giving.

“Think about what makes generosity accessible to our community,” said Hall, who came up with idea through her work as executive director of the Montrose Community Foundation. “Think about how people connect, and imagine prompts for each of the 28 days.”

She reminded those present that generosity is not only the giving of money, but of time and talents as well.

Miller, a certified financial planner with ElderAdo Financial of Montrose, quoted 2 Corinthians (9:6).

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously,” Miller reminded those in attendance, after sharing his own family’s story of losing a beloved child but finding a caring, supportive community in Montrose.

“Sow generously,” Miller said.

In February, organizers of 28 Days of Giving will print business cards as prompts, to remind the community about the various forms that generosity can take. The brainstorming session focused on simple ways to give back.

Among the ideas floated at the December meeting were “handwritten note day,” “blood donation day,” “carry something for somebody day,”  “give $5 day,” “soup for seniors day,” “pet day,” “enable a date night” and “volunteer for 15 minutes day,”  and “angel layaway day.”

Volunteers of America Outreach Coordinator Eva Veitch, who shared that she sometimes goes to Starbucks and buys coffee for others anonymously, expressed support for the concept.

“I like the idea of engaging people of all ages,” Veitch said.

The Montrose Community Foundation will kick off 28 Days of Giving with the Annual Baldridge Fundraising Gala, scheduled for Feb. 2. Throughout the month, ideas and prompts will be shared with the community in a variety of formats, including emails and a blog, to encourage both generosity and a spirit of giving. For Miller, much of the excitement comes from the chance to share the spirit of giving back with his own children.

“Hopefully the idea of giving for 28 days will ignite people,” Miller said. “I am happy to encourage my family, and to try to teach my kids by hosting a journey of generosity and special events.”

Hearing so many ideas from community members has already inspired Miller and Hall, who plan to generate a 28-day list of opportunities for giving by Jan. 1.

“Anyone can participate,” Miller said. “We are not seeking to control it—there is so much good stuff happening, it’s pretty neat.

“You can make a real difference with virtually anything—or nothing.”