My regular Saturday post last week titled “Benevolence” was initially written with the purpose to highlight two charities that I give to throughout the year. However, the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT diverted the original intent of that post. This week I would like to highlight those charities and talk a little about giving since Christmas is only a few days away it seems appropriate. When my mother and grandmother were living, I would shop and shop and shop for the perfect gifts for them. On average my Christmas gift-buying budget was about $500. Just a few days out from Christmas, wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, and tags would have surrounded me. This year Christmas is a little simpler with a few gifts for my husband and a few friends but nothing over the top or to fancy.

MJFF LogoOne of the charities that I consistently give to each year is the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. I do not give a large amount of money but I do send a few checks throughout the year. My father suffered from Parkinson’s disease and some of the impacts of the disease in conjunction with other medical issues resulted in his death. Prior to my father’s death in 1997 I only knew of one other person that had Parkinson’s disease. She was a co-worker, who began to show common signs of shaking hands and some twitching. It was the early 90’s and I was devastated for her. Since that time I have learned more and understand better effects of Parkinson’s disease.

As provided on the Michael J. Fox website: “Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60. While the average age at onset is 60, people have been diagnosed as young as 18. There is no objective test, or biomarker, for Parkinson’s disease, so the rate of misdiagnosis can be relatively high, especially when the diagnosis is made by a non-specialist. Estimates of the number of people living with the disease therefore vary, but recent research indicates that at least one million people in the United States, and more than five million worldwide, have Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease was first characterized extensively by an English doctor, James Parkinson, in 1817. Today, we understand Parkinson’s disease to be a disorder of the central nervous system that results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain, including a region called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement. Loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. Parkinson’s disease is one of several diseases categorized by clinicians as movement disorders.”

Click here to go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research website to donate and learn more about Parkinson’s disease.

DF LogoThe second charity that I give to in honor of my mother is the Delta Research and Educational Foundation. I was giving to this charity prior to her death in 2011, however, the Delta Foundation founded by members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. helps to find solutions to issues affecting African American women and their families embodies my mom’s spirit. She believed in anything that helped children and a large part of the Delta Foundation outreach is related to helping youth. My mother like my father died due to medical issues hers were breathing related; however, I believe that if she were living she would have written a check to the Delta Foundation.

As provided on the Delta Research and Educational Foundation website: “Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. established the Delta Research and Educational Foundation, as a public charity supporting scholastic achievement, public service programs, and research initiatives focused upon African American women.

Today, the Foundation remains strong, vibrant, and poised to meet 21st century challenges with the same unwavering spirit and dedication the Sorority originally envisioned. Our charge to realize social and economic equality for future generations of African American women continues as our guiding principle.”

Click here to go to the Delta Foundation website to make a donation and learn more about what they do.

Giving BackI give to other charities throughout the year and not only for the tax benefit. I give because I believe each of us who are blessed to do so, should reach out to help others. A former co-worker of mine was somewhat of a scrooge when it came to our company’s annual United Way campaign. His belief was that people needed to save for tough times. His heart was later soften after experiencing a unexpected family crisis, he understood that some things are outside of our control. I agree that we should put away for a rainy day but for many it’s difficult when they are making just above the poverty line much like my parents did when I was a child. My parents worked to make an honest living for our family; however, in tough times the kindness of family and sometimes strangers helped ensure a roof over our head, food in our stomach, and clothes on our back. Even the best planning cannot prepare for unexpected needs we may encounter in life. So I encourage you to give freely to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and/or The Delta Foundation.


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