Editorial: Give local 

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of 2020. It is not a year that most people will miss, and it is certainly not a year that people will want to remember, but it is (thankfully) ending just the same.  

The end of the year is synonymous with ‘year-end giving,’ a time when people make last-minute donations to their favorite causes in exchange for a deduction when they file their taxes. This is a win-win for both the giver and for the receiver and helps to position nonprofits for a successful new year.  

Typically, 30 percent of all annual giving occurs in December and approximately 12 percent of all annual giving happens in the last three days of December.  

Local nonprofit organizations have been hard hit this year. Some have not been able to open their doors, while other opened them at a loss, or, if they were lucky, simply broke even. The Bar Harbor Food Pantry, for example, saw community needs rise by 30 percent translating to a cost overrun of about $30,000 in food purchases. The Common Good Soup Kitchen has also seen a roughly 40 percent increase in need. 

The Bar Harbor Historical Society had planned a full summer of activities, including tours of their newly-purchased Eden Street mansion, La Rochelle. But, before they could really even open their doors to the public, the pandemic forced them closed.  

Through the year, the Island community has come together to support one another, and several out-of-the-box initiatives have helped.   

Early in the pandemic, the MDI Nonprofit Alliance sought to provide a bridge between people who could donate and those needing donations as a way to level the playing field on an island where residents have varying levels of wealth and need.  

The Summer Residents Association of Mount Desert raised just over $1 million in two months, providing grants to area businesses to help keep them afloat. The 244 donors who contributed to the fund helped to support 59 businesses through difficult times.  

For those who can, consider making year-end donations locally. And, if you can, consider raising your annual giving and spreading it out to the many charities, foundations and nonprofit organizations that make a difference in the lives of others.  

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