A giving attitude is worth celebrating

I’m writing this column just over a month before this issue publishes, and it’s fitting that it’s Giving Tuesday — a refreshing change from the commercial nature of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Once again, Smart Business is honoring organizations that set the standard for philanthropy through the annual Medical Mutual Pillar Awards for Community Service. We even have a new award, Philanthropist of the Year, to round out an exceptional group of winners for the 10th anniversary of these awards in Columbus. (It’s the 21st year overall in Ohio.)

What you may not know, though, is that Smart Business, Medical Mutual of Ohio and our other judges had the unenviable job of winnowing this group of 20 down from 80 nominations. This is the most nominations we’ve ever received for the Columbus awards. Central Ohio truly does have a big heart.

It also reminds me of something from ASPIRE 2018. Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme was asked about the difference between Silicon Valley and Columbus. His answer wasn’t about the amount of venture capital, startups or technology-focused companies and institutions.

He said, “The interesting thing I think about here in Columbus — and it’s an asset that we all need to continue to use — is to continue to talk to each other, pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, how can I help you? How can you help me?’ And that sort of attitude and collaboration, I think, to some degree has been lost in many other parts of the country.”

From my perspective, attitude and collaboration are why the corporate and nonprofit communities in Central Ohio are so closely tied together.

But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot of work to be done. Opioid use continues to devastate families across Ohio. The demand for services from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank is up. And a Columbus Dispatch article by Theodore Decker pointed out that Columbus still hovers at an annual per capita homicide rate of 12 homicides per 100,000 people, despite efforts to change that after a spike in 2017.

So, I challenge you to apply collaboration to your individual efforts to help the community this year. Keep a giving attitude all year long, and ask, over and over, “How can I help you?”