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Giving is the heartbeat of community

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Donna Chavis

Donna Chavis

Donna Chavis

Home is where the heart is. How many times have you used or heard that statement? Heart, heartbeat – these are words that conjure up a wide range of images. It is the heart that gives us the power we need for life.

On average, the human heart beats more than two-and-a-half billion times without a rest. And yet, we don’t stop and think about our heart beating. We take for granted that it will keep working tirelessly; beating from before we are born and maintaining life every moment until it stops.

In the same way, giving is the heartbeat of community.

Take a moment right now, stop reading and think about your recent past – month, week, even a day. Think about all that you have done. Did you give someone a ride? Did you buy someone a meal? Maybe you gave a friend or loved one a call that lifted their spirits or helped a relative cover the cost of school.

Did you consider yourself a philanthropist? Probably not. In every community and every culture there are traditions of giving that permeate daily life.

They are the things we do without thinking and, most of the time, without any expectation of notice. We do them because they are a part of who we are. As many say, “It’s just the right thing to do.”

And yet these acts – sometimes small, sometimes large – are so often the glue of community. They are the acts of philanthropy, grounded in its root definition of “love for humanity,” that have maintained community throughout generations.

In a recent meeting of Waccamaw Siouan young people, when asked what might happen if all the acts of community giving were to stop, one young woman said, “The community would fall apart.” She recognized the vital role that her acts of giving played within her community.

With the Philanthropy Journal’s Giving and Community Page, you will have the opportunity to celebrate regularly the many heartbeats throughout North Carolina that power community.

Examples of the giving traditions from communities of color, women and young people will be shared weekly. Within those stories, you will be inspired by the ways that gifts of time, talent and treasure support and build healthy communities.

NCGives is pleased to partner with Philanthropy Journal in bringing you these stories. And we hope you will join us in this excursion.

The heartbeat of giving goes on, and as long as it does, the community will thrive.


Donna Chavis is executive director of NCGives.

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