GUEST COLUMN: Give a gift that shows your heart

Here’s a timely statistic as the calendar turns to December: New research shows that 6 in 10 Americans would prefer a charitable donation in their name over a more traditional gift.

That’s 2/3 of Americans who are more inclined to organize an online fundraiser than an outing for birthday drinks, or whose wedding guests are being encouraged to consider a gift of philanthropy in place of cash. Even school-age children and teenagers are joining this movement by asking for donations to a local crisis center or food pantry instead of birthday presents.

As CEO of a large charitable organization, stories like this always bring a smile. They also remind me that while receiving impactful gifts feels good, giving a gift that will enable meaningful, lasting change feels even better.

As you begin to put together your Christmas gift list, I urge you to consider the impact of charitable giving. Grandma may not need another candle or pair of fuzzy slippers, but I bet she would love to receive a gift that shows your heart, your character, your giving spirit. The same goes for all of the people in your circle – colleagues, coaches, hostesses and so on – who deserve special acknowledgement this time of year.

A charitable donation in one of their names may just inspire someone else to follow your good example. Before you know it, your 10 individual gifts of $10 each toward fighting hunger or helping kids have multiplied to $100. If just half of those giftees feel inspired to follow suit, you’ve helped to drum up even more support for a cause that matters to you.

At United Way of Hancock County, we know that making measurable change can only come from an engaged community. Giving sparks more giving, and advocacy leads to a deeper sense of care and commitment for those around us.

If you are looking to give a gift of impact this holiday season, explore United Way of Hancock County’s Giving Guide. Contributions in the areas of fighting hunger, fostering financial stability and independence, championing children’s success, promoting safety and health, and supporting safe housing will go a long way toward brightening someone’s life and providing hope and the tools to get on a better path in life. Visit and click the 2023 Giving Guide tab to get started.

DeBoskey is CEO of United Way of Hancock County.

(This guest column appeared in the Nov. 30, 2023, edition of the Findlay Courier.)