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Nicole Phillips, Published February 08 2013

Kindness is Contagious: This year, will you be that somebody?

I’d like to share a story I heard a long time ago and recently found again online.

“This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

I’m not sure who originally wrote that story, but I imagine it was someone who had a pretty good feel for the reasons why things like poverty and discrimination still exist.

I am ashamed to admit that I have been Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. I can even tell you exactly when I morphed into those characters. It was on Feb. 14, 2012.

People around the country refer to that date as Valentine’s Day. Around the Fargo-Moorhead area, it’s becoming more widely known as Giving Hearts Day. Each year on Feb. 14, more than 100 local nonprofits have the chance to boost their bottom line through a 24-hour online fundraising event hosted by Dakota Medical and Impact Foundations.

In 2008, $325,000 was raised for local charities. Last year, gifts totaled more than $1.6 million, as 10,850 people donated. I was not one of those people.

Instead, I was Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. I figured that I already gave my time and money throughout the year, so I didn’t need to make a special point of giving on that particular day. I figured somebody else would do it. Luckily, this time I was right.

All day I had a nagging feeling telling me that I should go online and give. It’s the one day of the year that my $10 or $20 gift would actually be worth double. It would have only taken a moment to do and yet, I hesitated until the 24-hour period was up.

The next day, when my guilt should have subsided, it multiplied tenfold. That’s because I got an email from Impact Foundation telling me how many people took time out of their day to go online and give to Diva Connection. I volunteer as the executive director of the organization, which at the time had only been up and running for two months. People I didn’t even know felt so strongly about helping Diva Connection get off the ground that they gave us their money. That vote of confidence was priceless, and I was ashamed that I didn’t give that same gift of support to another organization in town.

I don’t have the space to list every charity that would love your gift, so I’ll just mention a few. This year, Bell State Bank & Trust will be matching donations to Jeremiah Program up to $4,000. TNT, YMCA, YWCA, Great Plains Food Bank, FirstLink, Hope Inc. and many others will receive a match from Dakota Medical Foundation for every gift of $10 or more. All you have to do to make a difference is go to www.impactgiveback.org on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Maybe you can give this year and maybe you can’t. That’s a very personal decision. I just wanted to let you know that you are a very important Somebody to Everybody.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@

hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the executive director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.