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Nonprofits good for community
I understand the overwhelming concerns of many that drive them to want to cut all non-essential programs to the bare minimum.
In examining my preferences and desires for community, I see long-term trouble in becoming complacent cutting everything and living in a potentially dingy, diminished bare-bones sort of community. I for one appreciate the vision that good politicians utilize in seeing what stays and what goes. We must not cut the programs that prove they are successful and well worth the small portion they actually cost on the front end.
I’ve lived in big cities filled with excitement and much to my chagrin, some pretty impressive crime. I have also lived in cities in this country and abroad that were safe and filled with culture; offering art exhibits, historic tours, plays, music, festivals, continuing education, outdoor adventures and fantastic little business and shopping districts that reflect the symbolic values and interests of the community.
In recent years, I have worked as a volunteer with numerous nonprofits in Athens, and I know that while there is room for improvement, many are going above and beyond in assisting elected officials concerned about keeping the charm and growing the city in a positive way.
Spirit of Athens is one such organization. As a whole it works well to promote the downtown district as the heart of Athens and Limestone County. The organizational program followed in this non-profit has been proven nationally. It is comprehensive, and certainly has allowed a spotlight to be shone on this very important and indispensable area we call The Square.
There are historic preservation projects, grant research projects, clean up projects, the new farmers market project, annual banquets, public relations programs, educational programs, advertising campaigns for numerous downtown events, and an active marketing of the area to prospective citizens and business owners.
This past year, Spirit of Athens developed and hosted The Athens’ Grease Festival, which attracted 4,500 people downtown and provided proceeds that lit up the rooftops along portions of The Square. Why all the hubbub?
Well, I believe that most people want to see Athens grow in a positive lit-up sort of way, and that cannot happen without the focus and intention that good nonprofit organizations like Spirit of Athens offer.