“When I was in college (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth), I owned a favorite t-shirt that I bought from a thrift store. Cleaning the garage the other day, I stumbled on that shirt in a box of ancient artifacts from that earlier life.

The slogan on the shirt read: "I give because I can."

To this day I have no idea what the original intent of the saying was, or who screened the words onto the shirt. I have always suspected it was intended as advertising for people to give blood?

What stunned me was the synchronicity of events that unfolded in the following days.

We are in the process of laying out the plans and framework for the new Chaffee County Community Foundation. As part of that preparation, I have the opportunity to talk to different folks who are dedicated to their community, as donors, volunteers, or staff members of nonprofits or government agencies.

When I talk to people, I like to ask this question: "Why do you give of your time, money, and expertise to benefit our community?"

Just last week, a remarkable young philanthropist, when asked this question, answered simply: "I give because I can."

Whether printed on an old shirt, or stated as a powerful philanthropic vision, I've been thinking about that response for days. I find it fascinating to learn what motivates people to give and volunteer.

Such a simple question.

Why do you give?”

Michael Hannigan
Executive Director, CCCF
Phone: 719-207-5601
P.O. Box 492
Buena Vista, CO 81211