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Pam Marino here to tell those who celebrate Christmas—you made it! The countdown is over. No more worrying if you’ll get all the presents wrapped, the cards sent, or the house cleaned in time. It came whether you were ready or not.

Holidays like Christmas are a hard deadline, which is something I appreciate as a journalist. I do so much better when I’ve got that deadline hanging over me. It’s a great motivator to get things done.

As soon as Christmas is over, the clock ticks toward a new deadline for me, and maybe for some of you as well. That deadline is 11:59pm, Dec. 31, for all end-of-year donations to count toward 2021 taxes. 

One of my high values is donating to charities and issues I believe in, something I’ve done all my life. I actually care more about making the donations than I do my taxes, but again, the deadline pushes me to get those donations taken care of.

This Friday is also the deadline for one of my favorite ways to give each year, Monterey County Gives! Ever since I joined the Weekly five years ago I have enjoyed spending time each November through December studying the dozens of local charities and then dividing up the amount I plan on donating overall among my favorites. (There are 170 deserving organizations this year.)

The online donation portal is super easy and kind of fun. The charities are grouped by type so I can focus on the areas I’m interested in like, for example, Health, Wellness & Food, Arts & Culture, Community & Social Services, Education & Youth. 

As I add in amounts next to each organization I get to watch the website do the math for me as the donations tally upward. I use my credit card, push the “Check Out” button and it’s done! I quickly receive an email thanking me for my donations that I may use when I file my taxes.

Another feature I enjoy is the Leaderboard. It’s a way to see how my charities are doing. (As well as a way to see which charities are lagging behind so I can throw a little cash their way.)

Last year MCGives! raised $7.8 million from 7,576 donors, a huge jump from 2019 when it raised $5.4 million. This year the goals are to raise $7.5 million from 7,500 donors. As I write this on Dec. 22, the last day before our offices close for the holiday, MCGives! appears to be closing in on $7 million with nine days to go. Just over 5,100 people have donated. 

If you haven’t checked the website out yet, do it right now by clicking here. All it takes to participate is a $5 minimum donation. You can be one of the more than 7,500 people who make Monterey County’s future just a little brighter. 

Your new deadline, if you so choose, awaits. Let me be one of the first to say thank you, and Happy New Year!

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