By Susan Sabin
“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” Kathy Calvin, former President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, spoke these words years ago, but it is a theme that has become the heartbeat of Martinsville and Henry County.
The area has more than 500 nonprofit organizations serving over 63 thousand people. The only way that is made possible is by people choosing to make a difference and improve their community. Many people think of giving as a strictly financial obligation, but the truth is that giving comes in a variety of forms and opportunities.
Jerry Hylton is a prime example of someone who not only sees the variety of opportunities to serve, but acts on as many as he can. Serving on the board of directors, providing building maintenance, donating funds, and making his famous chicken and dumplings are just a few of the ways he chooses to serve the Spencer-Penn Centre.
“Spencer-Penn is a slice of my life that I enjoy sharing,” Hylton said. The Centre isn’t just a place that Hylton loves, but it is a place that serves the people he loves the most. Who wouldn’t want to share something that special?
Giving Tuesday has always been about that: sharing and supporting the organizations and causes that are most important to someone. Every year, thousands of nonprofits participate in Giving Tuesday in the fall. This year, a new global movement has been created for communities to show their support for local organizations.
GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and unity. It took place on May 5 this year as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. “The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. It’s a day when we can all come together and give back in all ways, no matter who or where we are,” stated #GivingTuesdayNow.
The Spencer-Penn Centre was among many of the local nonprofit agencies to participate in the event. Focused on bringing neighbors together to provide educational events and programming, the centre is one of many nonprofits having to get creative in order to continue serving the community. Spencer-Penn offers a free community library, computer lab, summer camps, tutoring, adult classes, rental spaces, a museum, copying services, live music and more.
Sidney McClure, a board member, was among the many to giving online and honor #GivingTuesdayNow. He encourages others to do the same. His reason for giving is simple: “I support SP because it provides the community with many engaging and diverse opportunities, from entertainment to event spaces. I think it offers more than a lot of people even realize.”
Each individual has a reason to be grateful and a reason to give, but ultimately it all comes down to one thing: Together we can.
More information regarding giving can be found online at or the Spencer-Penn Centre Facebook page. Donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 506, Spencer, Virginia 24165. Anyone wishing to volunteer may also contact the centre by phone at (276) 957-5757.