Recently it was announced that my wife, Glenda and I had made a gift to Ottawa University. During the past year, we also have been deeply involved in the campaign to bring a YMCA to this community. Based on these things, people often ask me, why do we give? There are many reasons to give, but they all boil down to this: When any of us give, we give because it “feels good.” It feels good to give and know that in giving, lives now and lives that have not yet begun will be better for the gifts we leave behind.

For many years, Glenda and I have considered why we are here and our responses are Biblical: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” “If you have done it for one of the least of these my brothers you have done it for me.” Growing up, we didn’t have much, and with six children in my family, we shared everything. But we also learned to share with others or, in other words, we learned about the practice of charity by watching our parents and like-minded neighbors. Glenda and I feel fortunate to be continuing that tradition and modeling for our children.

Through the years, we have developed our own system to guide our giving. First, we find out about the project or entity that is asking us to give. What is the mission? What is the vision? What specifically will result from our contribution? What are the other programs that can be offered in a building? What are the community benefits? Or is this a small and special group need?

Then, if we agree that we want to get involved, we ask how using prayer and more discussion to reach a decision. We have given cash, an estate gift, a life insurance policy, and also appreciated assets. This has resulted in no real loss in our estate as taxes were reduced substantially and our investments have been blessed. Again, we believe this is Biblical. And we have seen our gifts make a substantial difference in the lives of many. The subsequent expressions of gratitude are great, but what happens in our hearts is even better. We might be lighter in wallet, but not in spirit, and we are full of joy.

We encourage you to make a decision that will make you feel good. We encourage giving to many worthwhile causes, but specifically we ask you to join with those who are sacrificing their time and resources to see the Ottawa YMCA project to completion. The need in our community is great. This project meets our deep desire to encourage and enable healthier lives in all manners in Ottawa, Franklin County, and beyond. The mission of the YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice, through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We have witnessed the practice of this mission as YMCA members for more than 40 years in Salina and Garden City.

— Dr. Ramon “Ray” Schmidt, 1961 Ottawa University graduate, Ottawa