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The Greatest Gift of All

December 23rd, 2013

'Tis the season of gift giving. Families, friends, co-workers, vendors, postal workers, teachers...all the people you have meant well through the previous year receive a  momento.. From that diamond ring to garish tie to the  old-family-recipe brandy-soaked fruitcake; throw in a dozen homemade chocolate chunk cookies for the family next door, and a fruit-basket for the little old lady in the corner house, and we are about done--frazzled from our generosity at year-end.

Or are we???

Don't forget the innumerable parties, the lavish holiday feasts, friends to be visited. On and on the joyful celebration goes.

Don't despair. UCOM is here to help.

The ancient Jewish sage Maimonides identified eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

The greatest gift one can give another human being is to partner with them or find employment for them in order to strengthen them until they no longer need to be dependent on others.

  • UCOM facilitates your giving in this highest way with our Asset Based Community Development program that helps our neighbors, particularly ex-offenders, people with disabilities and people with language barriers to find meaningful work to sustain their families.
  • Homework House, Schools of Hope and our Summer Learning Academy, your evidence-based and time tested tutoring/mentoring opportunities for children, offer the opportunity for children to find enjoyment and success in education which gives them greater confidence, social acumen and future earning possibilities.
  • Financial skills in Spanish partners with people over the long haul. Outcomes include freedom from the tyranny of pay-day loans, bad credit, and lack of connection to community resources; using a budget and taking advantage of banking services. In many cases new or better paying jobs or even a house of their own. All of these benefits are because of your gift to use for someone you may not even know.

A lesser level of charity is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven.  Maimonides points out that this kind of giving requires a trusted intermediary. Once again UCOM is here for you.

  • Incorporated in 1985 UCOM has 28 years of consistent, faithful stewardship.
  • Annual outside audits, careful income and expense reporting, and passionate sense of egalitarianism for all of our neighbors who turn to us hold us accountable to many public and private agencies and individuals.
  • More than that, UCOM's ear is ever to the lips of the people we serve to hear ways to act on new needs as they arise in our society.

You can trust us as your partner in this next highest way of giving.

Lowest on Maimonides' list is to give unwillingly. It is still giving and it still has its reward, but....

UCOM can even help in this situation.

  • UCOM's website, stories, books or a visit are myth-busters about those who utilize our many services.
  • One visit to our facility or a stroll through the web site and you get introduced to a treasure trove of people who are gaining new hope, greater skills, and a handle on better ways of dealing with the economic and other stressors of their lives.
  • Once you see the difference your gifts make in thousands of lives in our community, you will give the best gifts you can because you want to help in this mission for the common good.

The clock is quickly running down on 2013.

Soon your last giving of the year will be recorded. Those of us who know UCOM intimately--donors, board members, staff and more than 1200 volunteers urge you to give this year. Please give thoughtfully,  generously and confidently--knowing that your gift---regardless of size--is the greatest one of all.

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