A Reflection on Philanthropy and Season of the Giving By Ridvan Idara
In the United States, the tradition of charitable giving peaks during the holiday season, notably between Thanksgiving and the year’s end—a period known as the “season of giving.” A significant portion of philanthropic donations occurs in the last few months of the year. This giving period also aligns with the desire to make tax-deductible donations before the end of the calendar year.
As the leader of a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth through the arts, the responsibility to meet annual budget goals intensifies, prompting focused attention to fundraising starting in the Fall.
When I founded New Era Creative Space in 2013, I recognized that getting comfortable with fundraising wouldn’t be a walk in the park, and truth be told, it has yet to be. But as the years have passed and I’ve leaned into it, my mindset has significantly transformed.
Living in a society that paradoxically discourages asking for help while perpetuating systemic injustices, fundraising and giving have taken on a new meaning for me—an investment in justice.
The creation of this non-profit stemmed from a profound love for humanity, grounded in the belief that every individual, regardless of financial circumstances, holds rich potential. I feel a moral imperative to contribute to the betterment of the world, and I believe it starts right here in my neighborhood and community.
Philanthropy translates to “love of humanity” or “the desire to promote the welfare of others.” Reflecting on the essence of generosity, Henri Nouwen states, “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. When we seek to raise funds, we are not saying, “Please, could you help us out because lately it’s been hard.” Rather, we are declaring, “We have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources that God has given you — your energy, your prayers, and your money — in this work to which God has called us.” Our invitation is clear and confident because we trust that our vision and mission are like “trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.” (Ps. 1:3)
This holiday season, I invite those of you who have taken the time to read this article to find a way to support an organization or a project you connect with. If you can provide financial support, know that every dollar makes a difference, no matter how small. The world is filled with extraordinary people doing life-changing work who need our help. If we all work together, we can move the needle toward a better future for all. When we invest in empowering our youth and communities impacted by the injustices of our nation, we are investing in our collective liberation.
It’s essential to highlight that giving goes beyond finances. We can offer our time to express love, kindness, and compassion. Lend a listening ear to those in need, and, for some, the most valuable gift this season may be compassion and love for oneself.
I wish you all a happy holiday season filled with love, giving, and receiving!