The Intersection of Independence Day and Nonprofit Work

I’m going to force a connection between Independence Day (the official name of the holiday – “july 4th” just happens to be the day it’s on) and nonprofit work.

On Independence Day, friends and families gather around a grill or on a back porch or at a lake or beach to eat deliciously unhealthy wieners and hamburgers while forming blueberries and watermelon chunks into Pinterest-worthy American flag displays. We drink beers or other creatively made punches and play with fireworks.

where Independence Day and nonprofits intersect

The land of the free… Photo Credit: Mike Lesaski via Compfight cc

The Fourth of July is a wonderful excuse in the middle of the summer for Americans to celebrate the day we declared independence as a group of people from the monarchy across the pond.

Declaring freedom as a country was only the beginning…

While our forefathers made a declaration of independence as a country on July 4th, 1776, the process of understanding what freedom really means was only just beginning.

The country was free, but many people within the confines of this bit of geography between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were not free.

Since that day, this country has been working out what it means for individuals to be free. A country declaring its freedom to govern itself is one thing. Individuals becoming free and individuals granting freedom to those who are different from themselves have been slower processes.

While I’m not a political person by nature, and I would love for this blog to remain relatively right or left-wing agnostic, I do want to recognize the role that the nonprofit world has played and is playing in fighting for individuals’ freedoms.

You are engaged in various battles for freedom regarding those you serve:

Freedom from histories of abuse.

Freedom from prejudicial treatment.

Freedom from pockets of pitiful education.

Freedom from financial bondage and poor decision-making.

Freedom from addictions.

Freedom from spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional diseases and disorders.

Freedom from destructive behavioral patterns.

Freedom for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

Freedom to experience life, even if severely challenged physically or developmentally.

You are vital to the outworking of the United States commitment to freedom…

Without nonprofit organizations fulfilling and driving toward their missions, our country’s mantra of ‘freedom’ would not be nearly as powerful.

Yes, our government provides a huge ‘freedom sandbox’. It’s unlike most national governments anywhere else in the world.

But within these freedoms, individuals have the ability to imprison themselves and others. And individuals are imprisoned by physical and developmental and medical challenges beyond their control or as a result of someone else’s poor decisions.

Your work as a nonprofit leader is key to unlocking some of these prisons.

May your work continue. And may you enjoy a hot dog or a hamburger or a beer or a big bowl of ice cream while you see an awesome fireworks display this weekend!


Remember that this isn’t just a celebration of the beginning of our country. It’s a celebration of our country’s working out its calling as a proliferator of freedom. And you’re a huge part of that.

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