Idaho nonprofits change lives, and we all play a part

In the Treasure Valley, victims of abuse can receive support and shelter from the Women’s and Children’s Alliance or ROSE Advocates. Pet lovers can find furry companions at the Idaho Humane Society, West Valley Humane Society or Meridian Canine Rescue. Young people have a place to go after school and throughout the summer through Boys & Girls Clubs and the Treasure Valley YMCA. Seniors can gather with friends and enjoy recreation at local senior centers from Boise to Weiser.

These community-building actions result from the efforts of more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations throughout Idaho. These organizations’ missions are as diverse as the people of Idaho themselves, but one common thread unites them: they are in the business of changing lives.

Organizations like these enrich our common life together, and it’s time to celebrate them. Thursday is Idaho Gives Day across our state. We strongly encourage you to get involved with a nonprofit near you: find a local nonprofit and learn about their mission, give generously, and volunteer your time. (Need help finding a nearby organization? There’s a directory of organizations at idahononprofits.org.)

While government, business and social sectors are all vital to a thriving society, the social sector — led by nonprofit organizations — maintains the strongest focus on improving the lives of individuals. Management guru Peter Drucker once wrote, “The nonprofit organization exists to bring about a change in individuals and society.”

In other words, nonprofit organizations exist to improve the prevailing conditions in whatever community they reach. Whether helping homeless people into sustainable living situations, performing symphonic music for people of all ages, or nurturing faith in the young, nonprofits make our communities better places to live. Nonprofits edify us culturally, physically, economically, spiritually, intellectually and in myriad other ways.

Author Andy Crouch wrote, “The only way to change culture is to create more of it… If we seek to change culture, we will have to…

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