'Tis the Season to Give: Guest Post by Jim Struthers, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Jim Struthers HeadshotToday's Guest Blogger is Jim Struthers, Chief Development Officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. For 25 years, the foundation has worked with Chicago Tribune, a media partner of the Axelson Center, to change the lives of children, adults and families across Chicagoland through the Chicago Tribune Charities.

During this busy time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the sights and sounds of the season.

But it’s important to remember those less fortunate whose holidays might not be so bright, with a donation to your favorite non-profit or charitable organization.

You won’t be alone: according to a 2012 poll from Charity Navigator with data from nonprofits nationwide, approximately 40% of annual contributions are made in the last few weeks of the year. So year-end giving is the time to make a donation that will help make an impact and change lives for the better.

One of the Axelson Center’s partners is Chicago Tribune, who in 1990 partnered with the Robert R. McCormick to create Chicago Tribune Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund.  Through the Fund, grants are made to nonprofit organizations across Chicagoland making an impact for thousands of children, adults and families.

Over the past few weeks the Chicago Tribune has published stories highlighting the success these organizations are making. Such as:

  • Youth education programs that give at-risk students access to reading and academic programs in and out of the classroom.

“He learns. We see his happiness,” said parent Freddy Quiroz of his six-year-old son David; together they attend El Valor Corp.'s Saturday Literacy and Science Academy in Little Village.

  • Literacy and job training opportunities for adults giving them the tools needed to advance in the workforce.

Joseph Long, a trainee at Jane Addams Resource Corp., a workforce development organization, says the JARC program “has been a lifesaver. It’s time for a change. This is what’s going to bring it to me.”

  •  Child abuse prevention and treatment programs to ensure that children suffering from abuse are cared for.

“We’re interrupting the intergenerational cycle of violence,” says Carrie Estrada, program coordinator for Safe From the Start, a Streamwood-based program of the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County.

These are the stories of inspiration and courage of those striving to move forward. As you consider how fortunate you’ve been this past year, I hope they motivate you to make a year-end gift. You may even want to consider a gift to Chicago Tribune Charities and your donation will be matched at fifty cents on the dollar.

Whatever your favorite cause or organization may be though, make a year-end gift. It doesn’t matter if your donation is big or small. It all adds up to and will make a world of difference of those who just need a helping hand to move forward.

Best wishes this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Jim Struthers is the Chief Development Officer for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation overseeing fundraising programs for seven partners running 14 annual multi-channel fundraising campaigns.

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