Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 | No doubt about it — 2008 was a year of challenge and change. Now that it’s officially over, many of us are relaxing our shoulders a bit, sighing with relief that the year that seemed to start it all, that was so filled with anxiety and bad news, is behind us. But the challenges and the trials remain. The economy continues to climb and fall in a seemingly random and perpetual state of flux. Houses are lost. Jobs are lost. People need help. More importantly to us, people in San Diego need help.

With all of the bad news and uncertainty it may seem that the perfect New Year’s resolution would be to hold yourself close and your dollars closer until the economy somehow rights itself. It might seem reasonable that now is the time to just wait and see. It might seem that the safest route is simply the best route for the moment. We ask you to reconsider.

Now more than ever is the time that a real difference can be made for San Diego. As a nonprofit organization ourselves, we understand firsthand the challenges that arise when giving is down and need is up. And make no mistake about it: the need isup. Each day we receive calls from nonprofit organizations asking for help so that they can help others. More people need food, housing assistance, money for utilities. Our beloved museums and art galleries are at risk. Our environmental protection organizations may not all survive.

In other regions it would be expected, and perhaps seem perfectly reasonable, that individuals look out for themselves. Each person would need to fight their own battles, create their own solutions during this economic cycle. But this is San Diego. This is a community that extends itself to each other. We see it everyday — people giving of themselves, selflessly and without a second thought, to make our community stronger, healthier, better. This is our San Diego community, and it needs help.

We ask you to consider what San Diego means to you. Why do you live here? Why do you love it here? We propose that we should all do what we can right now, so that when this economic recession is over we can know that we did everything we could to make our community great. To keep it great. Perhaps it’s not the safest thing to do. But we believe it’s the right thing to do. Today’s challenge is about loosening our grip on all that we hold so close during this uncertain time, rising above the fear and anxiety that was so natural to us in 2008, and knowing that we have the power to make a difference. Now more than ever our community is asking for help.

We ask that you respond. If you give to a nonprofit organization, consider whether or not you can give more. If you don’t currently give, think about what you might be able to contribute. If you don’t know where to start, please contact us so we can help you determine the best role you can play in keeping San Diego so special. You can reach us at 619-235-2300. Find out more about us at www.sdfoundation.org.

Bob Kelly is the president & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. The Foundation has been a financial supporter of voiceofsandiego.org, also a nonprofit.

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