When you hear the words giving and philanthropy, you might immediately begin picturing dollar signs. But being philanthropic and giving to your community does not begin or end with the dollar.

Whether it’s giving timetalent or treasure, San Diegans make positive impacts in our community in many ways. Read on to learn how many throughout the region gave back in 2014, and share with us in the comments below how you gave or plan to give your time, talent or treasure to make an impact to improve San Diego.

Giving Time

Money talks, but volunteers power nonprofits.

Their roles range from one-day beach clean-ups to intensive training for the aid of community members during disasters. No matter the length of commitments, volunteers enrich our community through the simple act of giving time.

In Chula Vista, volunteers have banded together to fight hunger in a whole new way by planting and tending community gardens through the Fresh to Families effort at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The produce grown by volunteers – combined with produce gleaned from local businesses – gives a nutritional boost to the families who rely on the church’s food pantry.

Not far away in San Ysidro, the all-volunteer group of Hearts & Hands Working Together got their start as school volunteers who noticed a need for families at their schools. They created a program to connect families with resources in the area to distribute food, shoes and clothing.

Giving Talent

Giving talent is about sharing your expertise for the good of the community.

Wu Man is an internationally-acclaimed musician and who was born in China, but now calls Carlsbad home. She wanted to give back to her community and was able to do just that through a San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst fellowship grant.

Wu plays the pipa, a 2,000-year-old plucking instrument. Noting the similarities between her instrument and those used in Latin American music, she decided to pay respect to the rich diversity of her new home. Her project, “When China Meets Latin America,” was a series of cross-cultural exchanges between the Chinese pipa and Latin American plucking instruments and included community workshops and rare local performances.

“It’s great to be an artist in San Diego and to have this program to support artists,” Wu said of the Creative Catalyst grant. “It was not only an opportunity to create something but to give back to the community.”

Another way San Diegans are using their talents is participation in The San Diego Foundation Regional Affiliate program. More than 450 volunteers and local leaders from Oceanside to San Ysidro are involved in collective impact through their regional affiliate foundations to build community endowments, increase responsible and effective philanthropy and promote civic participation.

Giving Treasure

Giving treasure turns inspiration into realization.

More than 1,300 runners, joggers and walkers showed up to the Thank You Run in 4SRanch on Thanksgiving Day and raised $20,000 to benefit the 4SRanch-Del Sur Community Foundation, an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, as well as Helen’s Closet, an organization that serves patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

The La Jolla Community Foundation recently held its inaugural grants celebration, awarding $35,000 to five nonprofits for arts and science programs focusing on students, teachers and families. For La Jolla Coimmunity Foundation members, the grant awards were an opportunity to make a big impact by pooling together individual resources.

Through The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship program donors have the opportunity to create a scholarship in honor of a loved one or give to an established endowment fund. The result: last year 800 students received $2.5 million in scholarships to help pay for college expenses.

How Do You Give Your Time, Talent or Treasure?

There are several ways to make positive impacts in your community outside of donations.

How did you give back in 2014? How do you plan to give your time, talent and treasure in 2015? Tell us in in the comments below and raise awareness for your cause.

Or, click learn more button below to use our resources to find a cause you want to support this year.

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