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Happy Birthday, America

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” – Declaration of Independence

Happy 234th birthday America. That’s a lot of candles to put on a cake. It certainly would brighten the sky as well as the fireworks we’ll see this weekend.

July 4 marks the anniversary of the day the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution of independence from Great Britain. The document, prepared by a committee of five with the chief author Thomas Jefferson, was known as the Declaration of Independence.

Our founding fathers even gave us direction as to how to celebrate. John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance…It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

As we celebrate this weekend, we encourage you to reflect on what it means to you to be an American. We are still a relatively young country and yet our influence is seen throughout the world. While it existed prior to the founding of our nation, philanthropy is uniquely American.

Our nation was built on neighbors helping neighbors for the greater good. Ben Franklin himself was known to be a generous person in his actions toward all. Franklin said of the Revolution to the French, “We are fighting for the dignity and happiness of human nature.”

So this week, we pause to reflect on the hundreds of volunteers and donors who have given countless hours and thousands of dollars to fight for our cause that has ultimately advanced the happiness of those we serve. Know that you have illuminated our lives with your generosity.