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Like many families in Hardin County, I’ve had some good conversations and late-night ponderings about our local economy, jobs and the quality of life in our community. Most people think about the big for-profit employers and the small business owners but I would bet few think about the economic importance and benefits of the many nonprofits in town.
Some of the largest employers in the county including Hardin Memorial Hospital, Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College are all nonprofits. Not near as big but if you are a member of the Lions Club, Garden Club, Serenity Club, Dulcimer Club, Rotary Club and even the Elizabethtown Country Club then you are a part of the nonprofit community.
Maybe you attend church, send your children to a private school or you’re a member of the Chamber of Commerce or American Legion? All of these organizations help support local commerce, preserve our history, build community, educate our children and provide safe open spaces to relax. Although each is classified by the IRS a bit differently, we enjoy all the benefits of having so many good and various sized nonprofits as part of a healthy local economy.
This quality of life we all enjoy is rarely noticed on any economic indicator but would be sorely missed if they ever left. I imagine that many people have not stopped to think about the many nonprofits that surround us.
Each nonprofit, no matter the size, is not only doing its part to stimulate the economy but also doing its part to provide an immeasurable quality of life for all residents. The big nonprofits are important, just are the big for-profits, but just as important are the other nonprofits, like small businesses, that keep the local economic engine moving forward as a positive force.
The next time someone asks if you Buy Local to support the local economy, let them know that you not only proudly Buy Local but you also Give Local because you understand that a diverse economic engine is important to the quality of life we all enjoy.
Business brings families to Hardin County; nonprofits help keep them in Hardin County.
Don Fulford is executive director of Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland.