Hampshire is home to 199 nonprofits
Christmas is a time of giving — to friends and family, and to charities as well, with over a fifth of donations to U.S. charities received in December.
There are a lot of worthy causes right here in Hampshire County. The county is home to so many recognized nonprofits that there is no way to list all here — 199, according to a Tax Exempt World website list updated in mid-November.
For those who believe charity begins at home, where does one begin? You can search the taxexemptworld.com database by county and get their list of 199 — but then what?
People over 65 most often give to religious charities — to local houses of worship or national religious organizations, and younger people to charities for children, according to the Charity Navigator website. Charities in other areas like the environment, the arts, education and animal welfare also deserve support.
Charity Navigator encourages a focus on one’s “passion,” whether it is human welfare, the arts, education, the environment or something else. After all, if everyone agreed on what is most worthy, one charity would get everything, and all the others would go without funding.
Here are just a few of the more obvious Hampshire County choices for addressing some key areas — human welfare, the arts, the environment, education, and animal welfare.
Organizations serving children, like Warm the Children and the backpack programs in local schools, receive well-deserved support. Other organizations aiding children include those for children needing homes, often due to the opioid crisis, like the Burlington Children’s Home (www.bumfs.org) and the local office of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia (www.childhswv.org/sites/romney.htm).
Whole families get help when contributions are made to local food pantries, or to the local office of the Family Crisis Center (familycrisiscenterwv.com), which shelters families fleeing domestic violence.
All of us benefit from donations to volunteer fire companies and rescue squads.
Many older county residents rely on Committee on Aging (P.O. Box 41, Romney, WV 26757) meal deliveries or enjoy low-cost hot meals at senior centers.
Donating to environmental causes might include the Cacapon and North Rivers Land Trust (www.cacapon.org) or the Potomac Conservancy (potomac.org), or asking how you can help at the next meeting of the Hampshire Recycling Cooperative — Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. at the Capon Bridge Public Library.
Support for the arts and humanities could include joining the Hampshire County Co-op (56 S.Marsham St. in Romney) or donating to the Hampshire County Arts Council (hampshirearts.org) or Capon Bridge’s River House.
For education, there are half a dozen scholarship funds listed on the Hampshire County Community Foundation website at www.ewvcf.org/established-funds/, and the HCCF is always happy to get contributions toward the “mini-grants” given to teachers.
The county animal shelter has an excellent no-kill record with dogs, though they lack the space and resources to provide the same care to other pets. Shirley’s Angels Boxer Rescue (P.O. Box 4261, Winchester, VA 22604) saved some Hampshire County cats from euthanasia this fall, and Dakota’s Dream Animal Rescue (P.O. Box 1814, Winchester, VA 22604) also rescues cats.
There is also a charity for those who wish they could help everyone: the Hampshire County Community Foundation Community Impact Fund, set up to meet the county’s changing needs. Contributions are invested, with the HCCF board deciding each year how to use the income, so a donation’s impact continues to be felt, year after year — “a gift that through the power of endowment lasts forever,” Executive Director Amy Pancake points out.
Gifts to the Community Impact Fund, or any of the HCCF funds, may be made by check made payable to HCCF and mailed to P.O. Box 40 Romney or online at https://www.ewvcf.org/donate/.
Gifts to HCCF funds may also be made in honor of someone else, and the HCCF will send a card telling them you cared enough to make an impact in their interest area. Just make the donation by Dec. 18 to give them time to get the card in the mail.
Other Hampshire County charities not listed above are equally well known and equally worthy, and many lesser known ones deserve support too. If you need more information on a charity, perhaps one of the 199 on the taxexemptworld.com list that interests you, Pancake points out that the Hampshire County Community Foundation (304-822-7200) works with local charities, knows a lot about them and welcomes calls seeking information.
If you know of a holiday giving opportunity, let us know and we’ll get the word out. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it by our office at 74 W. Main St., Romney. Deadline is noon Monday for each week’s paper.