Raising money for charity is rarely easy, unless, it appears, one challenges another to pour a bucket of ice water over one’s head. And with just that, within approximately one month, the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Association raised close to $90 million. But the start of this fundraising phenomenon apparently had nothing to do with ALS, but rather it was a challenge to donate to a charity of choice — dump the bucket or donate. Now, however, it’s both dump the bucket and donate, and, because some celebrities got involved, all the money is being donated to the ALS Association, a foundation that donates to the research of a mysterious and fatal disease for which doctors still know neither the cause nor the cure. Maybe this massive outpouring will clear up some of the mystery. But now that we have shown so much generosity to ALS, how will other nonprofits be affected? Will donations that would have gone to other charities dry up? That’s a mystery, too. Before dumping another bucket of ice water — a decision that should be carefully considered as California’s reservoirs and aquifers dry up — perhaps we need to look at the grander scheme of things and see what other charities are up to and where their money goes.

In Ventura County, there are hundreds of nonprofits that would enjoy just the tiniest fraction of what has been given to the ALS Association. These local nonprofits vary in the services they provide, be it to local people and animals in need, environmental issues, or even missions abroad, plus much more. While ALS is surely in need of attention and a cure, the fact of the matter is, before writing another $100 check to this organization, look at your community. Where could your generosity help the most?

There are a number of resources in Ventura County that can help you in your mission. Whether you pour a bucket of ice water on your head and donate, or rather just simply get involved, no one loses.

Resources to consider:

Dial 2-1-1 or go to www.icfs.org/2-1-1-information-referral.htm

Interface Children and Family Services, in partnership with United Way of Ventura County and First Five Ventura, has set up a service offers a number of human services programs. The 2-1-1 service offers a variety of human services programs, which donations or volunteer work is always appreciated.

Ventura County Community Foundation, www.vccf.org

“To promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community. For Good. For Ever.”  

The foundation offers various services and programs to enable nonprofits to succeed in our community and it ranks in the top 11 of all community foundations in the United States for long-term growth. Also, if you are looking for a particular charity to give to, staff will lead you in the right direction.

United Way of Ventura County, http://vcunitedway.org/

The United Way of Ventura County has a comprehensive database of volunteer activities and charities looking for assistance.