How many of you recall the pride your son or daughter felt when you allowed them to drop your family’s offering in the collection basket at your place of worship – just like you did as a child when your parents allowed you to do the same?

What about the pride you felt when you watched your children saving their allowance or selling chocolates, cookies or lemonade to raise money for a charitable cause?

Or, if you’re an employer, how about the team building and morale boost you and your staff experienced when you all pitched in to give back to the community by supporting a local charity? Remember how rewarding it felt to take a group photo with grateful representatives from the nonprofit you helped and have your company’s assistance acknowledged publicly, maybe through a certificate or plaque?

Yes, there is something about giving that, as the proverb says, can make it an even more “blessed” experience than receiving gifts.

Scientifically, that can be explained as a chemical reaction.

According to, the warm fuzziness you feel when you perform an act of kindness, such as giving, happens in conjunction with your brain’s release of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which can have such positive effects as lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and stimulating bonding with others. Furthermore, the website says, adopting a lifestyle of giving has been found to decrease stress, depression, even pain, and help one develop a more optimistic outlook on life and even live longer.

And giving to charity as an act of kindness has the added benefit of being tax-deductible.

Knowing this, doesn’t it make sense to consider giving “the gift of giving” this holiday season? You can “bless” your family, friends, employees, business partners and local nonprofits while helping to promote your health and theirs, and sowing seeds of community goodwill in the process.

Kern Community Foundation’s Charity Giving Cards, available for purchase in denominations of $20, $25, $50, $100 and $500, can help. Giving cards are just like preloaded retail gift cards, except they can only be redeemed to benefit 501(c)(3) organizations, including places of worship, anywhere in the U.S.

Imagine giving them out as holiday gifts that inspire philanthropy and generosity in the recipient or, if given directly to a nonprofit, imagine how welcome they’ll be during the busiest season of the year for community-based organizations.

Giving cards come in five standard designs including one called “Holiday Lights,” which is perfect for the season. There is also a “With Sympathy” that is ideal for fulfilling the “In lieu of flowers, donate to … ” wishes of a grieving family.

Companies wanting to give charity giving cards to their clients, associates or partnering nonprofits can ask for them to be customized with their corporate logo, too.

The cards can be ordered through our website,, by calling 616-2617, or writing to

By giving the gift of giving through a charity giving card from Kern Community Foundation, you, too, can become an important partner in “Growing Community and Growing Philanthropy” in Kern County. 

Louis Medina serves as manager of community impact at Kern Community Foundation. The views expressed in this column are his own.