Erie Gives makes me damn proud to be an Erieite – Something good happened in Erie, 8/14/2020

Erie Community Foundation President Mike Batchelor, left, provides an update as Erie Arts & Culture’s Patrick Fisher looks on. | Photo via Greg Wohlford, Erie Times-News.

Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:

Most of us have had a tough year, so far. We’ve been isolated, unemployed, and left to figure a way out of the pandemic for ourselves. Since March, 40% of the Pennsylvania workforce has applied for unemployment. Forty percent!

And yet, like the Whos down in Whoville willing the arrival of Christmas in spite of the Grinch, Erie’s annual day of philanthropy broke the records for both total donations and the number of donors. It’s a victory for our whole region to share, and it makes me proud to be a part of this place’s renaissance.

This was the tenth year of Erie Gives Day. It was established in 2011 by the Erie Community Foundation, itself a non-profit that works to promote other area non-profits. In just 12 hours on Tuesday, 11,418 people donated $6,287,202 to hundreds of non-profits that otherwise would be finding 2020 quite a difficult time to provide their usual level of service.

Speaking only for myself, I needed this good news. I needed something like this to renew my belief in the goodness of humanity, because I have otherwise forfeited way too much of my energy to the daily deluge of tragedy and toxicity.

The news may well get worse in the near-term. If and when it does, I pledge to try my best to remember that people are fundamentally good. I know they are good because when times got especially tough around here, I and many thousands of others opened up our wallets and donated like never before to the kinds of organizations that donate so much of their time to help people who need it in all kinds of ways.

I can’t wait to see all the good that will come from these donations. In one small way, I already am.

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