Posted by: Megan Brown on Thursday, May 14, 2015

Emerge Megan Brown, Northwestern Mutual/ Emerge Tampa Bay Community Outreach Committee Member I occasionally ask myself, “Is it better to give than to receive? Is there something missing in my life when a philanthropic spirit is not woven into my busy schedule or monthly finances?” I don’t think anyone would deny that a person feels a sense of fulfillment helping others in need.  Yet, we often find that lack of finances, time constraints or just not knowing where to find outreach opportunities can keep us from experiencing that blessing. In an effort to overcome the obstacles that hinder outreach opportunities the 3rd annual Emerge Nonprofit Volunteer Fair partnered with Give Day Tampa Bay in Channelside Bay Plaza during their 24-hour online fundraising event. The goal was to not only raise money for nonprofits, but to present opportunities where you can donate your time. If time constraints were a concern, people could choose among 549 nonprofits to donate to at the push of a button. Gifts totaling $1,734,540.75 were raised during Give Day Tampa Bay from nearly 10,193 donors! For those wanting to donate their time, 24 local organizations set up tables in Channelside Bay Plaza to showcase their missions and highlight volunteer opportunities through the help of Emerge Tampa Bay. There were a diverse group of nonprofits in attendance, providing opportunities for everyone. Whether your heart’s desire is to work with animals, children, disabled veterans, or others in need, attendees were bound to find something that appealed to their passion. I found that this event made for a fun and easy way to find opportunities that aligned with the causes I cared about. Check out the list of nonprofits who participated in the fair below. As a busy, young professional juggling a marriage and the occasional budget blues, I still realize the importance of giving back but had all the excuses in the world not to be involved. Through the Emerge Nonprofit Fair, I met with representatives of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. They said the organization is willing to work with my schedule and only asked for some of my free time. I decided that their willingness to work with my schedule was a good fit for me. I cannot wait to meet a little brother that I will be paired with in the coming month. Whether you donate financially or give of your leisure time, it is a valuable contribution. It is good to be reminded, every now and then, to take the time to care. Just like my opportunity, Give Day Tampa Bay and the Emerge Nonprofit Volunteer Fair proved that there is an opportunity for everyone to be involved. If you are interested in learning about nonprofits in Tampa Bay, the Emerge Community Outreach Committee is the perfect place to start. Their meetings take place on the first Monday of every month. Join me sometime! The only question left is, “Are you ready to give back?” 3rd Annual Emerge Tampa Bay Nonprofit Volunteer Fair Participants: 2nd C.H.A.N.C.E Center 4 Boyz Americans For Prosperity Foundation American Lung Association Best Buddies Tampa Bay Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay Children's Home Society of Florida Cracker Country/Florida State Fair Fellowship of Christian Athletes Florida Aquarium Florida Gulf Coast Paralyzed Veterans of America Hillsborough Education Foundation LifeLink Foundation Instruments of Change Meals On Wheels of Tampa Metropolitan Ministries Inc. Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc. Solita's House, Inc. Special Olympics Florida - Hillsborough County St. Peter Claver Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue Tranquil Shores Children's Foundation Visions of Hope International

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