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Season of giving never ends in NE Michigan

It’s the melding of two seasons.

It’s pumpkins and dried cornstalks at one home, while the next-door neighbor’s porch is adorned with poinsettias and twinkle lights.

It’s a horror movie on one channel, and a calming Christmas movie on the next. It’s a pumpkin spice latte while shopping at holiday open houses.

And spread among those two seasons is the spirit of giving.

After coordinating the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan’s Giving Tuesday campaign for the past four years, the generosity of our region shines as bright as the Christmas popping up the days prior. Preparations for the day take up a huge portion of real estate in my head and in my work for the months leading up to it.

While, to some, that may sound like a burden, seeing the excitement and passion of those who work with and support local causes is the best part of my work. What I see more and more every year is that the “season of giving” doesn’t seem to end in Northeast Michigan.

What is so amazing to me is the generosity of our communities not only on that one day a year but on every occasion presented to be generous.

We have had lots of opportunities to see that lately, from local benefits for people needing help fighting terrible diseases to the number of community members and businesses who offered food, water and prayers to those battling the flames when the Habitat for Humanity ReStore building caught fire.

We see it in raffle tickets purchased for an item we probably don’t want, and in every fundraising order we place ($25 cheesecake pops anyone?).

We see it at the Community Foundation every single day. Every grant that goes out is the result of our community’s collective generosity, not that of just one person. Northeast Michigan may not be considered the wealthiest area, but, man, the spirit of giving and togetherness exists here in a big way, and, when it’s time to step up, we do!

We are proud of our communities here in Northeast Michigan and the way we really can depend on others when it is needed.

I can’t wait to see this generosity in full bloom over the coming weeks, with Giving Tuesday Northeast Michigan, and with the other many opportunities for giving like the toy drives, red kettles, giving trees at churches, and food collection drives. It is an opportunity to show others what our region is made of, and to shine a light on generosity as one of Northeast Michigan’s best qualities.

Christine Hitch is the marketing communications director for the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, where she has worked in community philanthropy for 14 years. She can be reached at chitch@cfnem.org or 989-354-6881.