Friday, November 17, 2006

Postscript Re: Charity

Please read Linda's very well-articulated comments regarding the Dixie Chicks/Red Cross controversy in the comments section of that post. I want to encourage anyone with knowledge or opinions on anything I "rant" about to please respond--it is my desire to always continue dialogue and to hear information I may have missed or not been privy to. I thrive on passionate rebuttal, but as I've noted here before, I remove abusive comments (ones with personal insults)--which luckily have rarely occurred here.

I want to address something that Linda mentioned regarding my probable withdrawal from Red Cross donations. If I choose not to donate to the Red Cross, it does not mean that I would not find another way to process my charity. I have always tended to focus on smaller, more locally administered charities anyway, with the exception of the HSUS and the Democratic party. When Katrina hit, I sent my money directly to Noah's Arc Animal Shelter to help save abandoned animals. It is my feeling that the larger a charity gets (and this refers more to scope of services), the more difficult it becomes to administer aid, and to avoid political issues. One of my favorite charitable ventures is Pasadena Presbyterian Church's annual Alternative Gift Market, where people can select a charitable venture, such as building a well in an African Village, or purchasing clothes for women in battered shelters, or any number of 100% vested donations. I am looking into starting a market like that here in Portland.

Although I don't have the kind of cash I wish I did for charitable work, I would never cease to donate, but would merely find another venue to provide help to people in need.


At 12:00 AM, Blogger Karina said...

Heya Hools - good on you for your stand. I dropped the Red Cross off my list many years ago after phoning them to ask for blankets and clothes to be collected specifically to be sent to a flood ravaged outback town. They point blank refused and said they didnt collect for specific disasters. They said they would only collect cash. I asked them how they thought the people in that town would spend the cash - seeing as how their shopping centre was under 5 metres of mud ! In the end my local post office arranged for the goods to be posted FREE to the postmaster in that town - and that nice post master took the goods and distributed them for me and later sent me letters of thanks from the people in the town. The Red Cross again did the same thing right after the Asian tsunami. Those people needed food and clothing and blankets immediately - not cash - they had no where to spend cash. You can request the Red Cross financial reports too - take a look and see how much of a donation actually goes to those who need it. A poxy little percentage. 80cents out of every dollar donated actually goes towards the administration of the charity - and into the pockets of the fat cat directors. Shame !

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

Karina!!! E-mail me at my litlover address, and I'll reply to you so that we finally straighten out our e-mail debacle! I went over to Lipton Village and I couldn't log it (or perhaps I'm just thick and scattered these days).

I have heard stories like yours specifically regarding the Red Cross before. If they only collect money, then there is another beaurocracy involved at the other end, isn't there? And one could suppose then that that organization has a chance to "administer" at a cost as well--perhaps that is why they seem so closely linked to the political environment. And 80 cents on the dollar going toward administration is atrocious! I admire the work of non-profit organizations tremendously, but feel that something is amiss when administrative costs exceed outgoing charity. Hope all is well with you ...


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