Remember the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? I loved watching this classic cartoon each year because I always felt a bit different. I recall imagining that I was a character in that classic cartoon and choosing to live in the Island of Misfit Toys with Rudolph and his red nose, Hermey the elf who wanted to be a dentist, the squirt gun that shoots jelly, and Charlie in the Box. I thought to myself, “Who wouldn't want to live in a place where everyone was special?” If it would have been a real place, it surely would have made it to my bucket list.
But, the problem with the Island of Misfit Toys is that all of the truly exceptional toys were there and not polka-dotting the toy boxes of children across the world. Hermey and his buddy Yukon Cornelius ‘got that’. They knew that a world without uniqueness was really no world at all. And because they, too, were special, they knew that those toys wanted to be given and loved by children just as much as the children longed to love them. And, thus, why this time of year is known as the season of giving. So much so that this season even has a spokesman: Santa. I mean really, Santa…Who’s more generous than this guy? In fact, it was with Santa in mind that the Foundation chose our light display at the Christmas City Walkway of Lights and our Christmas tree theme in our office.
When you think about who the Quarterback, Supermodel, Sexiest Man Alive of Giving is, 9 out of 10 people surveyed would pick Jolly Ole St. Nick. Lore passed down from generation to generation indicates that the modern Father Christmas was derived from the Dutch figure Sinterklaas, which, in turn, was based on tales of a Christian bishop and gift-giver Saint Nicholas. Suffice it to say that if Twitter would have existed in the 4th Century, Saint Nicholas would have been the reason that giving was trending.
The cool thing about the giving trend and Santa, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, Sinterklaas, and Saint Nicholas is that, although they were alike in many generous ways, they were also different in their generosity. That’s why, even today, generosity comes in all shapes and sizes. Giving is, and should be, as unique as the giver.
If you follow our Facebook page you've probably already seen our Leopard Santa tree. Now, let me introduce you to Leopard Santa himself.
He’s our CF Christmas mascot. As Santa, he represents true generosity; yet the leopard fur just adds a little something, don’t you think? That’s because we’re not just like every other office or every other foundation or even every other non-profit. To build the community’s endowment for the future, we still promote generosity, but with a long-term twist. Building an endowment gives us the independence to tackle issues of today and tomorrow. And the fact that our donors understand this now-and-later type of impact, they know to follow the wise advice of Hermey when he said, “Whaddya say we both be independent together, huh?” Together, throughout the year, your donations arrive, we grow those gifts, and then grant money from those funds to make Grant County a better place for you and me each and every year. We need each other. So, whaddya say we both be independent together, huh?