You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

breaking news

Weather Service confirms tornadoes struck Williamson County overnight

Mackowiak: Holiday season offers us a chance to help our community


When you’re a kid, you think the holiday season is about receiving gifts. When you grow up a little bit, you realize the holiday season is about giving gifts.

Since I was about 12 years old, I’ve always enjoyed giving extravagant or especially thoughtful Christmas gifts. Nothing makes me happier.

In the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to have the means and the opportunity to support several nonprofits with their work over the holidays. While I find it deeply meaningful to me personally, I also believe this is a calling. After all, those who can, must. Here are a few of those efforts and the excellent work that they do:

Since 2011, I have served on the Board of Advisors for Luke’s Wings, a national veterans nonprofit with a very narrow mission: reunite Wounded Warriors and their families at military hospitals around the world. They began with an annual budget of less than $100,000, but once they began telling their story through major media networks, they attracted huge support nationwide. They now have an annual budget of more than $1 million and they are approaching the milestone of having booked and paid for their 3,000th flight for a veteran or a veteran’s family member. During the holiday season, they launch a “No Solider Spends Christmas Alone campaign, where any veteran who needs a flight for the holidays has it booked for them at no cost and within minutes. You may learn more by visiting www.LukesWings.com.

A little closer to home, I am grateful for numerous wonderful efforts to spread cheer to needy families, like CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Blue Santa. My wife, Suzanne, and I decided to participate this year and are so glad we did. Both organizations help ensure that poor families have Christmas gifts during the holiday season, particularly where children are involved. You may learn more by visiting www.CASATravis.org or Operation Blue Santa at www.BlueSanta.org.

Around midnight on Thanksgiving morning I became aware of Operation Turkey, an incredibly well-organized meal delivery effort for homeless and needy Austinites with several locations. My job was to deliver about 10 meals to a specific geographic area. The host restaurant was a P.F. Chang’s on Jollyville in northwest Austin, near where I grew up. It was very moving on Thanksgiving morning to be surrounded by hundreds of generous and patriotic Austinites who were donating several hours on a holiday to serve those in need. You may learn more by visiting www.OperationTurkey.com.

While it is not necessarily specific to the holidays, Suzanne is president-elect of the Ballet Austin Guild, which is the volunteer force that supports Ballet Austin through assisting with community and education programming. They also help by funding part of the Ballet Austin budget by generally donating around $100,000 each season. The lion’s share of those funds comes from stocking and selling items at the Gift Barre during Ballet Austin’s performances, including at performances of “The Nutcracker” during the holidays. The Guild is also holding a spring fundraiser on April 30 at Hotel Ella, the proceeds from which will support scholarships to the Ballet Austin Academy for young boys and girls. You can learn more at www.BalletAustinGuild.org.

Finally, I was privileged to be a candidate for “Man of the Year” through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) last year, and I am now honored to serve on the leadership committee that is planning this year’s fundraising contest. LLS is an extraordinary organization that supports those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma — which in many cases includes young children — and donates millions of dollars each year to fund vital research for cures and treatments. You may learn more by visiting the Austin chapter of LLS at www.lls.org/south-central-texas.

These are just some of the organizations that we support.

These organizations and their work give me great hope.

There are many other worthy organizations performing important volunteer and charitable efforts in our community.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to give back.

Mackowiak is the president of Potomac Strategy Group LLC and the host of a new national politics podcast, “Mack on Politics,” which is produced in partnership with The Washington Times.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Herman: Wrestling with gender identity

As we navigate the brave and befuddling new world of gender identity, Mack Beggs was inevitable. And so was Madeline Rocha. Both are accomplished high school athletes to be celebrated for the time and sweat it takes to become such, especially in their grueling sport of choice. Beggs, 17, of Euless Trinity High School, heads to Cypress this week to...
Commentary: Picking fights with Mexico will be at our own peril
Commentary: Picking fights with Mexico will be at our own peril

The relationship between the United States and Mexico is at a historic low. Months of threats and Mexico-bashing by President Donald Trump have left our neighbors to the south with a mixture of anger, resentment and anxiety. The rhetoric has created a breach that threatens to become a profound chasm. We need to remember that while Mexico needs the...
Letters to the Editor: Feb. 21, 2017
Letters to the Editor: Feb. 21, 2017

Re: Jan. 27 article, “Why Trump’s border wall won’t be easy to build in Texas.” Dear Gov. Abbott, I am concerned about the future of some of our iconic landmarks in West Texas. Namely I’m worried about Big Bend National Park, Balmorhea State Park and the McDonald Observatory. These places must remain preserved, pristine...
Mona Charen: Patriotism, not nationalism
Mona Charen: Patriotism, not nationalism

National Review has sparked an important debate about nationalism. As someone who has been accused throughout her life of excessive love of country (can’t count the number of times I’ve been reproached for arguing that despite slavery, Jim Crow and the internment of Japanese-Americans, our country is eminently lovable), I feel a bit awkward...
Smith: Serving up lies to 'Intimidation and Customs Enforcement' raids
Smith: Serving up lies to 'Intimidation and Customs Enforcement' raids

Remember when Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican state officials hated the federal government? Why, a few years ago former Gov. Rick Perry even tossed the word “secession” into his poisonous mix of anti-President Obama rhetoric. He was, we were told, just kidding. Think back to 2015, when Abbott and others feared that run-of-the-mill...
More Stories