andquot;Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves,andquot; Benjamin Franklin once wrote in explaining why his fellow businessmen and citizens of Philadelphia should be philanthropic. Some 250 years later, it's still good advice to follow. We are, after all, part of a greater community.

Indeed, a community is only as strong as its members' pride for where they live and work. Likewise, each of us feels something less about ourselves and our futures when our community is not what it could be.

Philanthropy serves as a way to express this pride by building up one's community.

On the Northcoast, the Wild Rivers Community Foundation provides the opportunity for those who are able to help their fellow neighbors in need. It'sa foundation with 35 different fundsall of us should consider giving to,especially baby boomers nearing retirement who are thinking about how to give back to their community and how to make the best use of their savings and investments.

Foundation Board Chairman Kevin Caldwell likens the foundation to a seed. The money the foundation offers to organizations hopefully will flower intostronger services and a better community. Indeed, over the last 2-and-a-half years since the foundation began, funds were established to support child care services, libraries, the animal shelter, dentistry for disadvantaged children, local theater and more.

Money given to thefunds is pooled and invested by the foundation. A portion of those dollars then is given back to thecommunity annually. Currently the foundation has more than $2 million in funds. The more money in the funds, the higher the potential yield, which in turnmeans more dollars can beallocated to address community needs - notjust next year but for perpetuity. In addition, foundation dollars not only stay in the community, but donors can designate who or what organization receives the funds.

Consider giving a donationtoday to one of the 35 fundsof theWild Rivers Community Foundation or consider starting your own fund. The foundation's staff can be reached or 707-218-6262 to discuss how you might do so.

By donating, you will find that helping others in our community is among the best things you've ever done for yourself.