Law Review: Give your charitable dollars locally — now |

Law Review: Give your charitable dollars locally — now

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill


That advice from Sir Winston really hits the mark. We work hard to be successful. Our careers become our focus, but one thing I have learned is that in the end what really matters is relationships and family. What you do for others. And health.

No one is going to stand up at your service and tell your friends how you were the best worker in the office. The lasting stories told will be how you made a difference. What you have done with yourself and for others.

When someone tells me they don’t get involved because whatever they do won’t be enough to make a difference, I quote Betty Reese (whoever she is): “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” The littlest thing can make a difference.



I read an article by attorney Martin Kimel in the Los Angeles Times, titled “Don’t Waste Your Charity on Rich Colleges.” Interesting perspective.

Kimel describes the private university “endowment races that suck scarce philanthropic resources from underfunded charities.” Harvard University has an endowment of $41.9 billion, that’s with a “B.” In 2020, the endowments of the 10 richest American universities were worth over $151 billion.

The point of charitable giving is to benefit society, not to build massive endowments. That is my take anyway.

Private universities have alumnae and an entire nation to pull from. Our local organizations have a small region to support them. If you want some “bang for your buck,” keep your charitable dollars local.



Here’s how you make a difference. Donate locally.

Generous donors like you donate for different reasons. Some give for the passion, like to the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe as a lover of pets, or Sierra Community House for doing especially good work during these difficult times or the Truckee Donner Land Trust or Tahoe Fund.

Others give for tax reasons, and this year with the Cares Act that makes good sense; you can donate up to 100% of your adjusted gross income, which is a potentially amazing year end benefit.

Rather than name a few worthy nonprofits and leave out more, I am referring you to a Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation website where you will find a comprehensive list of our local and regional non-profits. Find an organization that serves your area of interest, and send them a few bucks. Check out:

Or consider TTCF’s Emergency Response Fund which helps organizations on the front lines, those who need it most in these incredibly difficult days. Make that months, perhaps years. Check out:

These nonprofits do remarkable work on modest budgets, improving our community.

Give locally and change a life — and by doing so define your own life.

May this holiday find you blessed with (immediate) family.

And in good health.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or


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