Healthcare Foundation

Volunteer Anneke Seley on Rethinking Your Holiday Gift Giving

My earliest childhood friend sent me this message early this month: “Please don’t buy me a gift this holiday season. Instead, please donate to my local food bank.” That got me thinking about how best to bring holiday cheer to those closest to me in a year when so many are going without essentials like food and healthcare. Honoring my friends and family with the gift of helping others feels especially urgent and meaningful in 2020.

While those on your gift list may be different, most of mine don’t need or want any more “stuff.” It also hit me that in this terrible pandemic year, it didn’t feel quite right to send typical corporate gifts to my business clients—senior executives who likely have never had to worry about keeping their jobs or having enough to eat throughout the COVID crisis. I made a personal choice this year, in addition to taking on more volunteer work, to work with clients who are entrepreneurs or business leaders focused on social impact in addition to revenue generation. Researching local organizations in their cities that contribute to their community’s health and well-being, making a donation in their name and sending a personal card was not only more personally rewarding, it was also a good fit for my client profile.

Consider rethinking your holiday gift giving by finding a common connection between you and your gift recipients’ interests and passions. I am primarily giving gifts supporting organizations that address fundamental human survival, such as healthcare and healthy food. Gifts or gift cards for local small businesses and restaurants are also great ways to keep our communities financially healthy. The arts need our help, too. I am thrilled to be receiving subscriptions to theater and other performing arts to help ensure their survival.

If you and your gift recipients believe in the importance of connecting people and resources to promote health and wellness in under-resourced communities, please consider a holiday season tribute gift in support of the Healthcare Foundation. As a volunteer member of the Marketing & Communications committee, I can vouch for the excellence, dedication and professionalism of this organization, as well as the impact it has on Sonoma County residents.

Joel Lewis

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