Over 19,000 people over the course of a year experience homelessness
Over 400,000 people are at risk of hunger
One in 6 residents is uninsured
More than 300,000 people are living below the poverty level
In 2011 the dropout rate was 9.3% with an additional 4.5% of students failing to graduate on time with their peers.
Now… these numbers seem like what you’d expect from LA county or maybe somewhere where the average income was low. No, these statistics are ORANGE COUNTY. My backyard, my community, my people.
When I learned about these statistics and how they are living in the same community as I am, I was shocked. I mean we live in the “Riviera of the US”, “The OC”, a place with “Real Housewives”… how could this be possible? And more importantly, what can I do to help?!
There are so many amazing non-profits in Orange County that I couldn’t pick one. I decided to donate to United Way and start actively volunteering and learning more about our community. United Way is a non-profit for non-profits. They do the due diligence to make sure the non-profits they support are using the funds they receive from United Way’s donors to make an impact in our community. (Huge time saver for busy professionals!). They also give exposure to smaller non-profits that don’t have the marketing dollars to bring in the big donations. http://blog.unitedwayoc.org/
I’ve recently decided to give 25% of my donation through United Way to another non-profit, Women Helping Women. They do amazing work getting women and men back into the workforce and I am proud to be a supporter. http://www.whw.org/
Now, I’m not writing this to tell you to go give your money to any charity. Philanthropy is very personal! These were the decisions I made and I wanted to share why it is so important to me.
For me, spending time giving back and meeting other women who give their time to help the community is incredibly rewarding and helps me find balance. Philanthropy was the “missing link” for me. Spending time doing something for others and giving what I can financially reminds me every day of how fortunate I am and how one person does make a difference.