Category: Community Leadership

The Health Benefits of Community Service

Did you know that when you give, you also receive? What does that mean? It means that when you take the time to give something, your time or your service, you also receive something in return. Giving back to your community will not only make you a different person, but there are many health benefits that coincide from community service.

Reduced Depression

Volunteering is a mood booster. It improves your sense of worth while aiding in a bigger purpose. For a little while, you’ll be more focused on the community service than you will yourself and your worries. You can reduce depression through volunteering. It will provide you with new perspective, and raise your self esteem. By giving your time to a better cause, you may see things in a different light.

Emotional Strength

Sometimes community service can open your eyes to things you didn’t know existed. Living conditions, people with no friends or family, families that can’t afford food, and playgrounds full of waste are just a few examples of what people who volunteer encounter. Experiencing the unfortunate conditions that some communities are in will tug on your heartstrings, and you’ll be a stronger person for it.

Physical Health

To volunteer, you might have to engage in physical activity. Community service such as building a deck, repairing a house, picking up trash or even helping someone move are all ways you can be more active through volunteering. This kind of physical activity will get you in better shape while giving back to your community at the same time.

Mental Health

Change your state of mind through community service. Your brain will thank you. Volunteering creates pathways to better mental health in a few ways. It gives you the opportunity to meet new people and make friends. It also makes you feel good once the job is complete. You’ll increase your social skills and possibly learn how to do something new. All of those factors can give you a happier mental state.

Reduced Stress

If you’re feeling stressed, one thing to make you feel better is volunteering. An easy break from the stress in your life is focusing your energy in making your community better. Distract yourself with issues other than your own.

A Sense of Fulfillment

Think of your heart as a “love tank” that requires gas to run, just like a car. Instead of gas to fill your love tank, it’s community service. When you give to others, help others, or simply spend time with others, you’ll notice a sense of fulfillment. If you’re running on empty, you probably feel sad or down. When you complete acts of community service, your heart will feel less lonely and your chest will feel full. That’s your love tank and that’s how you can keep it running.

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Promoting Healthy Neighborhoods for Healthier Neighbors

The idea that it “takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that has been quoted time and time again as a way to describe the power and impact that having an entire group to reinforce and back up the lessons learned as a child grows. While the expression itself refers to the growth of children specifically, the notion itself is universal. People are happier and more productive in a community environment, and new studies are showing that community support can even make people healthier.

In the same way that it “takes a village to raise a child,” it could also be argued that it takes a healthy village to make a healthy person, as living in an atmosphere that promotes positive activities can in turn, positively impact the individual. A healthy community is one that understands that health is more than just the lack of disease but rather an entire lifestyle and ideology. The latest County Health Rankings release, which uses more than 30 different factors to measure the health of almost every county in the country, shows a shocking depiction of what health across the nation really entails. When it comes to America, clinical health care efforts only accounts for 20% of our overall health with the other 80% coming from a combination of both economic and social measures like education, housing, employment, the environment, and more. It’s clear that, in order to put ourselves on the correct path to healthier citizens, we need to rethink how we’ve always thought about health.

If we lived in a world that put the focus on building healthier communities instead of focusing solely on the need to produce efficiently and earn money, imagine what life could be like. If we worked on creating positive change for the betterment of society within our own communities first, how much better could we make the world?

Fortunately, there are things you can start doing right now to improve your community. If you’re looking for little ways to create a better world, here are just a few ways you can begin to make a difference.

  • Work on building a safe community.
    • Healthy communities are communities where everyone feels safe and secure, so look for ways to improve that safety. Organize a neighborhood watch or look for ways to assist your local law enforcement.
  • Build positive infrastructure.
    • Healthy communities provide services to help meet the needs of the people. Look for ways to help improve that infrastructure; design a new playground or dog park for your community where people can convene and enjoy fresh air and exercise.

Building healthy communities to help promote healthier lifestyles for healthier neighbors is a great first step in the effort to creating a more positive, healthy, wholesome world.


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The Best Charities for Community Development

Organizations that devote their philanthropic efforts toward the development of communities aim to promote economic growth and stability through a variety of ways. These may include increased access to affordable housing, enhancement of public and private institutions, or generating community involvement. Below are some of the best charities dedicated to building foundations for communities all over the world.

Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation

Serving the Lake Tahoe area between the border of California and Nevada, the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation promotes the collaboration of philanthropists and non-profits in order to build a consistent source of community capital. Addressing a broad range of issues, this organization manages charitable funds for families, businesses, and other organizations to provide assistance in their attempts to develop a beneficial effort.

Beginning in 1996, PTCF spends 91.8% of their expenses on programs and services dedicated to their cause, and last year, awarded over $4.7 million to 251 charitable organizations focusing in areas like community support, arts & culture, education, and environmental conservation.

Community Foundation of New Jersey

Beginning in 1979, the Community Foundation of New Jersey has worked tirelessly every year since in forming alliances between families, businesses, and foundations in order to improve the lives of those within these communities. Focusing on a wide range of causes, CFNJ allows donors to choose where their money goes, whether that encapsulates specific causes, organizations, or communities. Those who come to the foundation with ideas of their own are highly sought after, as innovation in how communities are improved is ideal. As of today, CFNJ contributes to over 1,100 different funds.

Austin Community Foundation

With 94.7% of their earnings going directly toward charitable programs and services, the Austin Community Foundation has set the bar in fostering an “ecosystem of philanthropy,” improving the greater Austin area. ACF provides the tools necessary for donors to effectively give, grants for non-profits, and leadership in areas that may otherwise be lacking such guidance. Founded in 1977, the foundation has since become the third largest charitable organization in Central Texas, and averages more than $20 million annually thanks to donor advised funds.


Regarded as a foundation of philanthropic funds, FJC was established in 1995 in New York, NY to give philanthropists a trustworthy foundation of donor advised funds for those who wish to improve the ways they give back to their communities. FJC aims to maximize the impact their donations have on the causes of their choice, create new solutions in philanthropy, and work closely with donors to ensure efficiency. Since their establishment, they have given over $270 million in grants to charities all over the word, and manage over $255 million in assets. Even more impressively, 98.2% of their program expenses are spent directly on the services they deliver.

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How to Contribute to Your Community

Being an active member in your local community not only positively defines your character, but benefits the well being of those around you who may be less fortunate. Certain aspects like education, poverty alleviation, and proper medicine and healthcare are all human rights that should be given without question. However, many people do not have access to such things. Doing your part, whether global or local, can make a difference.

Search for events being held in your area. Newspapers, radio stations, and television ads all promote local fundraisers, the causes of which can benefit a number of organizations. Things like blood drives, concerts, flea markets, and clothes drives can all generate income or donations that go toward a good cause.

Never shy away from volunteering your own time. If you have a day to spare, donate your time and effort into something that benefits the less fortunate. This can include anything from walking dogs at your local animal shelter, to cooking in the kitchen of a homeless shelter, though these are just general ideas.

Research things that need the most help in your area. For example, if you live in a heavily industrialized city that harbors very little plant life, give a day to planting trees or gardens. Even if there isn’t an organization in your area that does such a task, grab a few friends or locals interested in that cause to help, and start your own good deed for the day. Another example may be underfunded schools in your community that cannot afford certain necessities. In this case, generating a large group of people to spend their own money on things like pencils, books, paper, and calculators could help tremendously.

An aspect of community involvement that many people may already be taking part in without knowing is shopping locally. Buying from local vendors that do not have chains of stores around the country obviously helps them build revenue, but also creates a sense of community by having a variety of people from your area run businesses. This can add a feeling of uniqueness to your town as well, as it may not be overflowing with Walmart’s, Olive Gardens, or other large chains.

Organizing your own fundraiser or event, as previously mentioned, may be the most fulfilling way to contribute to your community. Again, look for anything your area may be lacking in for ideas. This can include building playgrounds for children, of raising funds for an already existing organization. Whatever the cause, getting many locals involved can greatly increase the money raised, as well as create a closeness among the people contributing.

Community involvement and donating any time of yours that can be spared is a selfless, morally righteous act that can go much further than providing fulfillment. By joining or starting a team effort to do good, you can not only help others, but also build a community in an area that may not need a boost in morale.

The Importance of Giving Back to Your Community

No matter who you are, giving back is incredibly important. People give back in lots of different ways, such as donating to relief funds, donating regularly to single or multiple charities, or volunteering. There are endless opportunities for you to help other people. There are also various reasons why you should. While large corporations often start their own philanthropies and utilize charity as a way to benefit their businesses, it’s also important to give back in ways that don’t provide you with any kind of business gain. However you prefer to give to charity, try to make time to focus on giving back to your personal community, especially if you’re a leader in that community. There are various reasons why you should do so.

  • Change someone’s life

Most importantly, volunteering and supporting your local community might give you the opportunity to change someone’s life. When you give back, be attentive to the people or cause you’re working with. You may be able to do something that could significantly help someone who’s in a bad situation and make even more of a difference than you already are. If you work with children, you have the opportunity to become a lifelong mentor to a child who needs you.

  • Strengthen your community

Overall, giving back to your local community will strengthen that community. It benefits everyone that lives there, including you. Having a stronger community will bring more business and opportunities to it, which will help local businesses and people and also make the town a better place to live. A better community will mean safer, healthier, and happier lives for the residents.

  • Grow as a person

Giving back allows you to have an opportunity to grow as a person. You’ll gain a new perspective that you wouldn’t have otherwise by getting in contact with people and organizations you wouldn’t regularly see. You may also discover a new field that you feel passionate about and can pursue a career in.

  • Develop new skills

In addition to learning more about yourself, you’ll be able to develop new skills. Maybe you’ll be working with children and can utilize those skills when you’re a parent one day. Or, maybe you’re working on constructing something and learn different tricks you can implement in your own home. You’ll also develop your communication skills and be able to relate to various kinds of people more easily.

  • You’ll feel good

Finally, you’ll just feel good! Your self-esteem will be boosted knowing you’re working hard to make a difference in someone else’s life. In addition to emotional and mental well-being, giving back can also benefit your physical health. Those positive emotions can make you feel less tired and stressed, but you’ll also receive physical benefits from moving around or being outside that you might not get when you work all day and then head home for the night.

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