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LEHMAN: Live here and give here, especially on May 6!

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Everybody knows the communal benefit of shopping with locally owned businesses instead of heading to the big box store with out-of-state headquarters. Consumers are returning to Main Street and shopping at the mom-and-pop establishments that offer stellar service and are responsive to the needs of customers and neighborhoods. It’s a proven fact that locally owned stores keep more revenue in the local economy, creating economic stability at home.

The same is true for local nonprofits. Everyone who lives here needs to do the same thing and give here.

On a global and national scale, large nonprofits are invaluable, especially in the face of significant events, like natural disasters. But the day-in and day-out effort to better your neighborhood and your neighbors is the work of local nonprofits, based here, whose employees live here, and whose work is done here. They deserve our support.

Consistent giving to sustain local nonprofits is needed, but if there was ever a single day to give, May 6 is it—the day of The Big Payback.

The Big Payback is a community-wide, online giving day designed to give the public the opportunity to pay back the nonprofits that make this the place we all want to call home. Hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and made possible by The Kharis Foundation and numerous sponsors, this 24-hour event—from 6 a.m. May 6 to 6 a.m. May 7—will help Middle Tennessee nonprofits raise much-needed funds and bring awareness to the work they do to address pressing needs close to home.

During these 24 hours, anyone can visit TheBigPayback.org and make donations to their choice of participating local nonprofits, including schools and churches. The website will enable donors to view and select one or many nonprofits by name, based on location, the charitable work they do and/or who they serve. Gifts of any amount, from $10 and up, are welcome. And our local nonprofits will be eligible for $150,000 of additional financial prizes throughout the day.

While the United States is, arguably, the most generous nation on Earth, all too often local nonprofits in this community lack the tools they need to succeed. Every citizen of Middle Tennessee has benefited from a nonprofit: a school, a library, the hospital in which they were born, an animal shelter, a museum, a clinic, a theater or dance performance, a religious institution, or the like. The work local nonprofits do is life-changing and supports our community in a truly unmatched way.

This May 6th, think about the local nonprofits which have meant a lot to you and yours. Give them the funding to continue their work to make our lives better every day. Track the countdown and make your donations at TheBigPayback.org.

Ellen Lehman has served The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as president since it began in 1991, and has seen it grow to become a philanthropic force in a forty-county area in Middle Tennessee.

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