Steve Duncan: The joy of giving and receiving
By Steve Duncan, chief executive officer, Community Foundation for Calderdale
These are the opening lyrics of one of the most iconic Christmas songs by Band Aid – Do they know it’s Christmas?
With Christmas adverts now appearing on the television it got me thinking about the Christmas holidays and time with my family, and that age-old question: Is it better to give or to receive?
At the Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC), we regularly receive generous gifts of money, and we channel these gifts as grants to local individuals and families most in need. While receiving can bring joy and delight, giving often brings a profound sense of satisfaction and positivity, and one of the main reasons why people channel their giving through CFFC to help people in need. I thought I would use this month’s article to explore this age-old question.
CFFC is a shining beacon of hope for the local community. Our mission is to receive the financial generosity of individuals and businesses and then redistribute these gifts as grants, making a profound impact on the lives of many.
Receiving gifts, especially in the form of donations, is an essential part of CFFC’s operation. These financial contributions allow us to support a wide range of community initiatives, from education and healthcare to environmental conservation and poverty alleviation. When people come together to give, CFFC receives the means to bring about positive change in Calderdale.
On the other hand, the joy of giving is equally transformative. The act of giving is deeply ingrained in the human spirit. It often goes beyond financial giving and extends to the gift of time (volunteering), compassion, and support. When you give, you create a ripple effect that touches not only the recipient but also yourself.
The positive effects of giving are well documented. Numerous studies show that acts of generosity can boost overall well-being, reduce stress, and even improve one’s sense of purpose and happiness. When we give, our brains release “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine, reinforcing the idea that giving is truly a gift to the giver.
Yet the magic of Christmas lies in the balance between giving and receiving. When people give, others receive, and vice versa. The circle of kindness is what fuels our communities, making them stronger, more compassionate, and more vibrant.
When people give to our Foundation, they become an integral part of our family of change-makers. They also receive the satisfaction of knowing their contribution is making a significant impact in Calderdale.
This holiday, as we embrace the joy of giving and receiving, let’s remember that it’s not an either-or proposition. When we give, we receive the gift of happiness and fulfilment, and when we receive, we have the opportunity to give back in kind.
It’s a huge privilege being CEO of CFFC giving hope and support to those in need and I hope my article has inspired you to…
Give when you can, receive with gratitude, and revel in the beautiful cycle of giving and receiving that makes Calderdale and our world a better place.