This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.


Kimberly B. Lewis, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc

I began giving as a child, helping my parents prepare meals for families from our church who had sick loved ones in the hospital in my hometown of Charleston, SC. My father was a Pastor at a church in Walterboro, SC, an hour’s drive from Charleston, and when someone was admitted to the hospital, my parent’s home was a place that family members came for a hot home-cooked meal, a shower or a nap in a bed, as opposed to the hospital waiting room chairs.

As an adult, I began looking at my giving, as a way of creating a legacy in the community. I have lived in several communities over the years and my goal has always been to leave the community better than I found it. That meant in deeds and financially, from donating to building campaigns at my church, to organizing neighborhood clean-up campaigns, to mentoring young men and women, to donating clothing and household goods to Goodwill.

We all have gifts and talents that we can lend. Some of us are fortunate to have financial blessings that we can share, small and large. What is most important to me is that I am living a life of legacy everyday.

My advice to those who want to live a life of legacy so that your community is improved by your gifts of time, talent and finances, is to find something that you care about and then seek out ways to volunteer or donate.

You might teach a class or make toiletry bags for the homeless. I led a youth group and we would You can donate financially. I donate to my local United Way every payday through payroll deduction. I donate to my Goodwill stores by “rounding up” every time I buy something. Not only does my purchase go towards providing job training and placement in my community, so does the extra change that I round up. You can advocate for a cause by writing letters to your local or state representatives. Be present in your community so that you can leave mark on this earth and make it better than you found it.