The power of surprises…

Maybe the surprise was that special gift you got for the holidays. For me it was my first bicycle. I still remember how I bounded down the stairs on Christmas morning and there it was – my Schwinn in all its red splendor. I didn’t yet know how to ride but oh boy, now I was ready and ready with style!

Or maybe it was the one you got for your birthday from a friend who knows you so well. For my recent celebration, my friends presented me with a handmade lamp that we’d seen at a crafts fair in Oregon while on vacation. Yes, I did a lot of oohing and ahhing never thinking for a minute that I would own it (I promise – I wasn’t hinting!). My friends got the artist’s business card and had it shipped to surprise me.

Or perhaps a surprise visit that caused you to gasp, break into a huge smile or maybe even tear up. I had such an occasion a few years back. It was a Friday night and my husband and I were in the midst of dinner with friends at our home when to our wondering eyes appeared our daughter (a 1st semester freshman) pulling into our driveway for the weekend.

What makes surprises so powerful? I think it’s a couple of things that go hand-in-hand – delight and appreciation. Put simply, surprises delight us! They bring out the child in us and transport us from our daily routines to the unexpected – helping us literally stop and realize how precious and fun it is to be in the here and now. After pausing to take it all in, we’re aware of how much we appreciate the thoughtfulness and caring of those who delight us. 

At the North Carolina Community Foundation, not only do we get to experience the power of surprises every day, we get to start a chain reaction of surprises through the work we do across the state.

Maybe it’s the donation we receive for one of our affiliate’s community grantmaking funds. These donations are pooled and enable the local board to make grants for a host of community needs. Each year our boards get to be surprised by the generosity of their donors!

Maybe it’s the visit we get from someone who wants to start a scholarship fund in honor of a friend, family member or school teacher. These scholarships provide opportunities for students to attend college who otherwise might not be able to afford the cost. These recipients are surprised with the letter that says, “Congratulations, you have been awarded a scholarship!”

Maybe it’s the call I get from a Regional Associate who excitedly shares that an affiliate board hosted a very successful friendraiser to acquaint more people with charitable giving through the Foundation. Guests are surprised and delighted to learn more about opportunities to give back to their community through NCCF.

Maybe it’s ________________. I’ll leave this one blank because I want you to be surprised!