Gifting Your Gifts

Published September 23, 2011

Written by Jill Sornson Kurtz, Board President

This has been quite a year for me… I got married, graduated with my masters, and will soon turn… drum roll, please… 30!! (yikes. that’s the first time I’ve typed it out) And with each milestone is another reason to celebrate! Culturally, we commemorate these milestones for others with thoughtful gifts, written cards or our most favorite, money. If you know me at all, you know I’m horrible at them all. I’m just not a good giver or receiver of gifts. Ironically enough, I married one as well, in fact the only tangible gifts we’ve ever exchanged are our wedding bands. We don’t like to try to infer what the other really needs or wants, and would rather do something together (tickets to the symphony or trip to Monterey) than buy something that takes up space.

So when it came time to register for our wedding, we both cringed… not only did we have to pick out “stuff” but then we had to invite people to give it to us. Though this was a normal practice by all other standards, it still felt awkward for us non-gift givers. But as we looked around at our hand-me-down-pots and eclectic sets of dishes, we knew some new things would be in order. As our first gifting option though, we strongly encouraged people to give to a cause so important to both of us, education and Rebuild South Sudan.

We had an overwhelming response from this alternative gifting option. I think non-givers and givers alike appreciated a more creative and intential way of giving. Many gave more to Rebuild Sudan than they ever would have spent on a household gift. To date, we’ve raised nearly $3,000 and I can think of no greater way to commemorate the beginning of our lives together than contributing towards something we care so much about.

We’re not the only ones who have used donations to Rebuild South Sudan as a way of celebrating milestones. Last year, Sarah Gerber (our Director of Communication) and her husband, David Gerber (who joined our trip in 2009), gave to Rebuild South Sudan on behalf of each of their guests instead of a traditional favor.

This year, after meeting Michael Kuany at an event in DC, Amanda Frayer and Dan Schramm also felt drawn to the organization’s mission. They decided to forgo a registry entirely and asked their guests to give to Rebuild South Sudan (see the page HERE). Though their nuptials are over, the money has kept coming in and to date, they’ve raised over $2,500 for the organization! (you guys rock!) Kevin Knox, the board’s Vice President, is turning 31 this year and is asking people to celebrate creatively by giving $31 to Rebuild South Sudan. What a great way to embrace age for with each year, comes another dollar!

So, whatever you’re celebrating or whatever milestone you may pass this year, think about how you could use Rebuild South Sudan gift your gifts. May you commemorate in such a way that it’s impact outlasts your experience and its purpose extend beyond your day.

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