Monday, November 23, 2009

This week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving — a day of appreciation for all that we have.

Let's think of the word Thanksgiving as two words — thanks and giving.

•Thanks — a grateful feeling or acknowledgment

•Giving — to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation

At the Chamber, we recognize the importance of both words.
We are thankful for the hard work our members put in everyday to make our communities strong, vibrant places to shop, live, work and play. The sweat equity and dedication to ensure a strong business environment is immeasurable and we are grateful to share in that success. We are also indebted to our volunteers and committees for the efforts they put forth throughout the year that help make the Chamber itself successful. I encourage you to make your own “thanks” list and pass on your sentiment of gratitude.

As part of our own giving, the Chamber has had the opportunity to gladly share our accomplishments with our nonprofit community. In 2009, the Chamber coordinated an effort through our Village Fair event to donate more than $19,000 to 23 local nonprofits. We were also able to donate more than $6,000 to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan from our Vine & Dine event.
Though financial support has its place, giving does not necessarily equate to emptying the piggy bank or writing a check. There are several other ways to give — share your time, donate new or gently used items, donate facility space or share your experience on a particular topic. Winston Churchill said it best, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

If you're a business, you may want to explore the benefits of partnering with a local nonprofit. Not sure where to start? The Chamber has a nonprofit network consisting of 57 local nonprofits. If you're looking for a signature charity to support or a place to donate your time this holiday season, visit the Chamber Web site at There you'll find requests from local nonprofit organizations that are in need of support on our homepage.

If you're searching for a specific type of nonprofit, try visiting With more than 63,000 nonprofits in Michigan, you'll be sure to find one that fits. You can narrow your search by county or cause. Identify a cause that shares in your professional or personal values and determine how you can help support them. Remember, partnering with a nonprofit can be a win-win situation for both parties.

By joining forces with a charitable organization, you can support a cause while boosting business. Often times, supporting a particular charity can help expand your professional network and even, provide opportunities to meet potential customers. Employees feel encouraged to participate when their employer supports a cause they believe in. Chances are one of your staff members or a co-worker may already be active in a cause that makes sense to support. Supporting a charitable cause can even be used as a team building exercise — moving skills from the conference room to the community.

On behalf of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber I wish you and yours Happy Thanks and Happy Giving!

Carrie Zarotney is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

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