Greenfield’s money to charities well-spent

I read the article titled “Charity funding OK’d by council” (Aug. 6, A1) in the Daily Reporter. A total of $206,500 was awarded to 11 organizations based in Greenfield. All of these organizations deliver benefits for our community.

While I know there are individuals and groups who see this kind of involvement by government in private philanthropy as over-stepping the bounds of what government should do, I offer my praise to the Greenfield City Council for its foresight in spending public dollars in this way.

Three of the groups — Greenfield Main Street, Regreening Greenfield and America in Bloom — are concerned with improving the appearance of our city. Greenfield Main Street has worked to help local businesses improve the appearance of our downtown. Regreening Greenfield and America in Bloom work to coordinate private and public displays so the city provides a coordinated appearance during the summer months.

The Boys and Girls Club of Hancock County serves our youth with activities and supervision. I think it is obvious who Hancock County Senior Services serves. Sister Cities gives Greenfield an international flavor with our connection to Kakuda, Japan. Alternatives Inc. serves those who have been affected by domestic violence. Hancock LINK serves those who need educational assistance.

Friends of Recovery is working to open a home for women who are in recovery from substance addictions. Hancock Hope House serves those who are homeless. And Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen serves those who may not regularly get a good meal by serving meals twice a day, five days a week. And it has never been busier.

Every one of these organizations gives back to our community far more than they got from the city. And every one will continue to serve our community, even if they do not receive these city funds. However, without these funds their work becomes all that much more difficult.

There are many private, for-profit groups that work to improve our city as well. Many of our restaurants offer times community organizations can hold events that allow them to share in the profits for a specific time period. J.D. Restaurants of Tipton, owner of Jim Dandy and Dairy Queen here in Greenfield, is a prime example of one of these establishments.

They offer sponsorship nights and allow the organization assigned to a specific time period 15 percent of their income during that time. And they do not keep this a secret. In fact, Dairy Queen displays this prominently in its front window. As a co-director of BackPacks of Hope- Greenfield, we have twice accepted Dairy Queen’s offer. We have also been welcomed by Jim Dandy. For a very small non-profit like ours, this allows us to raise a substantial amount of money in a short period of time to aid those who are homeless in Hancock County.

And the county’s larger businesses share in this philanthropy. They often sponsor large fundraisers or community projects. Sometimes they do this with little fanfare, sending employees out into the community to work on projects for local non-profits. Sometimes they do this with their name prominently displayed on a sign, such as the sign near the state highway department along the Pennsy Trail showing who contributed to the efforts to improve the trail. In the end their contributions better the community.

I believe this public/private effort is necessary for this community to thrive. There are times government funds must be used to assist organizations that contribute to the community. And there are times private funds can assist those same organizations. Without both, Greenfield would be a less vibrant community. Please, keep these efforts going.

Jim Matthews is a long-time resident of Greenfield. You may share your comments at jem75@sbcglobal.net.