(Seguin) -- Local non-profit groups hope that many of you will end 2017 with a little extra giving. This is a popular time of year for giving, because it's the last chance for people to get tax relief on their 2017 tax returns that will be filed in 2018.
Two charities, the Guadalupe Regional Medical Foundation and the Seguin Public Library Foundation, have publicly reached out to encourage people to consider them as part of their end-of-year giving.
GRMF Executive Director Elaine Bennett says their foundation helps to support the services that are offered at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center.
"The foundation is the 501c3, which is the non-profit part of the hospital. Our foundation is considered a supporting foundation, and so every dollar that we receive goes back to GRMC," said Bennett.
Bennett has been a part of the staff at GRMC for more than two decades, but she's relatively new to her post at the foundation. Bennett says she has a strong attachment to the hospital, and she knows just how important it is to Seguin and much of this region. She says that's why she works so hard to keep it connected to the community. One of the ways that people can stay connected, is by supporting the foundation and its mission.
"My passion is helping people. And I really do think that we have a great hospital and people don't know about it and if I can communicate that, and make that person feel like 'I want to give to that because I appreciate all the services of the hospital' -- then I'm doing my job," said Bennett.
The GRMF has enjoyed a great deal of stability with it's board members over the years. Bennett says that has helped the foundation make some significant contributions to the hospital over the years.
"Our foundation began back in 1999 and since its inception, we've only had two board chairs. We started with Margo Trost. She and Freddie Sagebiel and Nancy Berry -- they were the ones that (started) the PAP program, and that program is still in existence today. It's known as Prescription Assistance Program, and we do provide -- with a monthly enrollment fee -- prescriptions to people that qualify with chronic conditions. So it's very effective. Our second board chair was Phil Seidenberger. So we are feeling the loss (with his recent death), and it's going to be hard to replace a man of his caliber, but we have an acting-chair, Ethna Goetz along with the other board members. We have a very good board. We have Dr. (James) Lee and Dr. (Jim) Colvin, Michelle Kuempel, Susan Dyess, Jo Ann Maples, Tres Hewell and Karen McMillan," said Bennett.
GRMF has made giving easy. Bennett says many of you may have received a mailer from the foundation, but she says even if you didn't, there's still an opportunity for you to give.
"Well, there's many different ways to support the foundation -- meaning supporting the hospital. You can always give me a call 830-401-7209, or you can go visit our website, grmedfoundation.org. And really, yes, it's about money and maybe bequests or that kind of thing, but I really want the donor to know (and) I want them to feel good about (saying) 'I want to give to this foundation, because I believe in this hospital.' I want it to be a relationship to where it is something that they know that their hard working money went to something that they know they believed in, and they know that I will definitely make sure that it's going to be handled in a manner that they intended it to go towards," said Bennett.
Bennett says they have already identified some of the projects that could be supported through future giving.
"Some of the things that we are doing for next year is we are planning on adding a second cath lab and O.R., and (also)
enhancing the birthing center in the coming year," said Bennett.
Joe Patterson, Jr., chairman of the Seguin Public Library Foundation, says their charity is also encouraging end-of-year donations to be made. He says the library foundation exists as a way for the community to help support the many services offered by the public library system in Seguin.
"Our mission is to enhance the Seguin Public Library as a community resource by raising funds for an endowment. Our goal is to enrich, not replace traditional tax based support for the library through gifts, grants and bequests from individuals and organizations. One thing I would like to build on with saying all that is in 2016, we did have pretty generous giving from the community. The community did show a lot of support for our organization," said Patterson.
Library Director Jackie Gross says most of the library's funding comes from the city of Seguin, with some funds also put up by Guadalupe County. But Gross says the library foundation offers some supplemental funding to help the library better serve its patrons.
"The gifts that the foundation has given over the past 20 years -- we're talking around $15,000 a year. And with money, we've been able to buy new equipment, purchase (online) financial resources that may be beyond our regular budget -- such as Value Line and Morningstar. We've been able to hire performers to come to our summer reading programs, (including members of the) Mid-Texas Symphony. All of those things just add to what we can offer to the community that goes beyond our regular operating budget. So the foundation has certainly helped the library provide services that we would not have been able to provide," said Gross.
Gross says the foundation's endowment continues to grow, which allows more money to also be shared each year with the library.
"The important thing about the foundation is that when people make these donations, they are making them to the endowment. The endowment is never spent. It's meant to be that ongoing support. The library is gifted, each year, with the interest that is earned on that endowment. So it's one of those things that we have great support groups, but the foundation is one that kind of carries into the future -- if you will -- as far as support goes," said Gross.
Library Foundation Board Member Sandra Moline says the charity is all about helping the library provide more services to the public.
"I know that people get a lot of requests for donations at the end of the year. I brought my mail in a little while ago and I think I had an inch thick pile of envelopes requesting funds for so many good and worthy causes. There are so many good causes out there. But this is one that I think people should pay attention to and, if at all possible, make a contribution. We would certainly appreciate it," said Moline.
Donations to either GRMF or the Seguin Public Library Foundation can be made by sending checks directly to those organizations. End-of-year giving isn't limited to just those two charities. You can enjoy tax savings by donating to any charitable organization before Jan. 1, 2018.