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Joining the Hometown Team

Maybe you’ve never thought of our region’s nonprofits as our “hometown team?” Nearly 1,300 people stepped up for the team recently with their gifts to 43 different causes through the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF)’s Give Local MOV 2017 online fundraiser. 

Many of us regularly support our State’s colleges and universities, having attended them for a relatively brief time. What keeps us linked long past graduation is often our ongoing allegiance to their teams. As we cheer the team on, we reinforce that connection. Our communities could be incredibly strengthened if we adopted the same connective mindset toward our own hometowns—if we thought of these places where we’ve lived for twenty or thirty or more years, as being similarly worthy of cheering on with our support. 

Consider our local nonprofits as making up our “team.” They’re the groups that connect with people to give hope, food or shelter to folks in need; create safe and caring places for children; build homes for families and improve lives for vulnerable individuals; ensure stray animals receive humane care; provide great community facilities; and bring arts, culture and meaning into our lives. Their team uniform is service to others. Our communities are better—more economically, culturally and socially vibrant places—because they exist.

And, as we build our hometown team, let’s remember to add our local businesses, many which are already cutting their margins pretty tightly to stay in business in our small communities that don't offer the sales volume or capacity of big cities on which to base prices. When we buy outside of our area and drop these vendors from our team, we undercut the local market, making it even more difficult to remain in business here. Does anyone really think Amazon’s going to step in to replace local businesses in supporting our youth recreation and school teams, local food pantries, or arts groups and other good things that make this a great region in which to live and raise families? Or that some Columbus dealer will sponsor our local fundraisers? It’s not likely.

When we remove our sales dollars from local merchants whether buying online or out of area, we are also sending the profits elsewhere. While we may save something, we short-change our own community in the long run. Any extra amount we may pay should be considered a small price to help our hometown team. When we buy local, businesses can give local—it’s that simple.

Give Local MOV 2017 gave us a great start to building an even stronger hometown team. Going forward, let’s each buy a season ticket and cheer the team on. We’re going to spend a lifetime here so it’s time to join and support the team that’s working to make our region a place where our citizens will have greater opportunities to thrive.

 

-Judy Sjostedt 

Executive Director

Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates



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