Ronda Graff

Community Connections

News and views from the McCook Community Foundation Fund


Strong communities need investment

Thursday, September 22, 2022
Gavin Harsh

A person makes many different investments during their lifetime.

The first investment that likely comes to mind is a retirement account, in the hope of creating a healthy, sizable nest egg when the working years come to an end. Another type of investment is starting a business, using life savings now to see a dream become a reality. Both of these investments offer trackable, tangible results.

And then there is perhaps the most valuable investment we can do: investing our time.

This can range from joining organizations that help people grow, like TeamMates or CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates); volunteering to support community functions, including the Chamber of Commerce’s Heritage Days; or assisting at children’s activities, such as the YMCA’s youth sports.

In reality, none of these “investments” have any kind of direct return which you can cash in at the end of the day. But, imagine if we didn’t have these organizations or programs? Picture what our community would look like without these opportunities. To put it bluntly, it would be a very different - and likely not a growing nor prospering— kind of community.

As we embark on “McCook’s Decade,” there are many investment opportunities, both of finances and of time. There are capital campaigns on the horizon that are going to require generational investments. There are non-profit boards looking for new voices and young people, who will bring energy - and new ideas - to the table. Or perhaps it’s as simple as offering your neighbor assistance, mowing their lawn or fixing their fence.

Very few of these investments will give direct returns, but ultimately they build a community we can be proud to call home. A community that is strong and vibrant. A community that promotes health and wellness. A community that continues to welcome and encourage volunteering. McCook can grow and thrive thanks to everyone’s generosity.

Investing in stocks, bonds or real estate is easy and logical for many. However, as a community member, I encourage investing in our community with your time, energy and effort.

“McCook’s Decade” has numerous projects with great people in the lead. It’s not “if” you will hear about them, but “when” you will hear about them. When this happens, I encourage you to see these as opportunities to build a stronger community, opportunities to leave a legacy for your kids and grandkids to enjoy, and an opportunity to change a person’s life. And most of all, these are opportunities to build a community our youth will want to call home.

Since we are in the midst of the fall-sports season, let’s look at it from a sports perspective: the best sports teams are usually player-led, not just coached. If there are any parallels, the best communities are people-driven, where people invest in their youth, invest in their friends and neighbors, and invest in making their hometown an even better place to call home.

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