Emotions surrounding the holiday season can vary so widely for people – from excitement and joy, to stress around finding the perfect gifts and hosting family from out of town, and for many in underprivileged populations, perhaps isolation or worry as they try to figure out how to fill the table with a warm meal to celebrate around. At Cramer & Associates we constantly strive to practice what we preach and foster a culture of giving, so it was a no-brainer when we decided to block off November 30th for #GivingTuesday on our calendars and spend that time volunteering for local organizations who support these traditionally underserved groups.
According to Chronicle of Philanthropy, #GivingTuesday launched 10 years ago in 2012 “as a way to encourage people to do good and give to charities — a counterpoint to the consumerism of the year-end holiday season.” The initiative has continually grown over the past decade, and this year we saw an estimated 9 percent rise in monetary giving in the U.S. compared to 2020, an 8 percent increase in in-kind donations, and an 11 percent increase in volunteering. Team Cramer is honored to have contributed to that volunteerism growth as we gave our time to Jewish Family Services in the morning and Catholic Social Services’ Our Lady of Guadalupe Center in the afternoon.
#GivingTuesday Stop #1: Yard Cleanup for Local Holocaust Survivor
with Jewish Family Services (JFS)
On the sunny morning of Tuesday, November 30th, we geared up with leaf bags, rakes, leaf blowers, mulch, and other necessary equipment and headed over to the home of the sweetest elderly couple – one of which is a holocaust survivor and both of which are making every effort to stay in their home and keep healthy as a global pandemic looms – to do a fall cleanup of their yard.
Cramer & Associates Senior Consultant Steven Fields has been a volunteer and donor at JFS personally for over 10 years, and said:
“When we decided as a team to spend the day volunteering, we knew we wanted to lend a hand to nonprofits who make a genuinely positive impact and help bring awareness to the full depth of their mission and services. JFS always provides its clients with dignity – never judgement – whether it’s helping them obtain a job, providing them with a support system as they assimilate into the community, or connecting seniors with proper care to be able to stay in their own homes and maintain independence.”
The Cramer team has been honored to work with JFS and we support their mission whole-heartedly, and are grateful to JFS Volunteer Coordinator Susie Blair for the opportunity.
#GivingTuesday Stop #2: Pantry Cleanout for Our Lady of Guadalupe Center
with Catholic Social Services (CSS)
After finishing up with raking and mulching in the morning, we headed over to see longtime clients and dear friends Ramona Reyes and Alma Santos at the CSS Our Lady of Guadalupe Center (OLGC) and assist with cleaning and sorting their food pantry.
The Cramer team began working with OLGC back in 2014 on a feasibility study to test OLGC’s vision to move to a larger space, and continued to work with CSS to help with the campaign and their overall development program.
“OLGC was busting at the seams in its initial location and was able to move to its larger, current location, and here they are already busting at the seams again!” said Mike Schmidt, Executive Vice President and Partner at Cramer & Associates.
While the pantry is a big part of OLGC’s programming and helps provide food for so many families and individuals each year, that’s not the only service they offer. Over the years, the OLGC has expanded its programming to help reduce poverty by addressing its root causes within the immigrant Hispanic community concentrated on the west side of Columbus—a population that is growing and experiences disproportionate poverty. The OLGC offers wrap-around services including a food pantry, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, nutrition classes, preventative health screenings, legal consultations and referrals, and comprehensive case management.
For many in the Columbus area, OLGC is the voice of the Hispanic community – their needs, concerns, opportunities and their culture. It is where families go for help and a place to connect in a way like no other in our region.
“The best part of getting to go back and volunteer at OLGC on Giving Tuesday was hearing the wonderful stories about their clients finding jobs and how welcoming the staff were to us – I do not speak any Spanish and they were patient with me and made us all feel like we were part of their family,” said Mike.
As a team, we could not be more grateful for our experiences getting out in the community and volunteering on #GivingTuesday. It’s refreshing and exciting to see the impact initiatives like this have on our communities, and we encourage everyone to continue to give back to those who need it most in whatever small or big ways you can this holiday season.
To learn more about Jewish Family Services and how you can contribute to their mission, head to their website here: https://www.jfscolumbus.org/
To learn more about the Catholic Social Services Our Lady of Guadalupe Center and how you can help in their efforts, click here: https://colscss.org/our-lady-of-guadalupe-center/
Cramer & Associates is a nationally recognized philanthropic consulting firm that has been serving nonprofit organizations, corporations and foundations since 1987. Our full-service firm offers clients a wide range of services, including feasibility studies, campaigns, strategic planning, board training, development audits, events, executive searches and much more. The Cramer Team identifies organizations’ strengths and opportunities and develops campaigns that succeed, empowering organizations to impact their communities.