Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Charity Rambling

I know I've written about this before, just not sure which blog I chose when the topic wafted through my brain! If you've heard this one before you'll know by the fact that I'm repeating some of my thoughts that it's one that truly puzzles me!

Have you ever thought about all the fund raising that is done for charities across the country (and world if you want to take it that far)? In Fayette County alone it seems there's a charity event almost every day.

It's more than just the events that we read about in the Fayette Front Page and other local news venues, too.

Think about the kids in school who raise money for various causes as part of their club's mission. Or the jump rope and hoops events for the American Heart Association.

You get calls from save-the-this or cure-the-that groups wanting you to send money. Your best friend is "arrested" and needs money to get out of the charity jail. Jerry is on television raising money for the cure.

Then there's the local churches and their regular donations to good causes.

When I worked for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta it was inferred rather directly that if we wanted to move up the ladder we needed to make sure we gave to United Way. I didn't like the fact that my company was pretty much coercing me to have money deducted from my check if I wanted to move ahead, but being in management I had to set an example and there were a few local home-grown beneficiaries I could choose so I bit the bullet.

I could continue to list ways we're helping to cure and save until my keyboard died and still not touch on how many ways we give!

So, here's the bottom line: Why haven't we cured anything? Why aren't we making major strides in eradicating certain diseases? Why do we still have so many people in need?

If you think about it, giving to these groups is voluntary re-distribution of wealth (or in some cases, the needy giving to the more needy).

We talk about what would happen to our economy if we did away with the IRS (think long unemployment lines) or if our banks or airlines collapsed. Have you ever thought about what would happen if we cured cancer?

There goes how many jobs? Countless. It's not just the American Cancer Society that would go by the wayside. We'd lose umpteen thousand (million) other local agencies. Buildings would be empty and people would be out of jobs. All those research grants being doled out to colleges and companies across the states would dry up. The pharmaceutical companies would take a bit hit because so many drugs wouldn't be needed any longer. Hospital beds would be empty, doctors would have to look at other specialties, and companies who've specialized or depended on some equipment related to cancer cure / treatment would take a huge hit.

What if we all started eating healthy foods and diabetes and heart disease almost vanished? Yes, I know some is related to Agent Orange, heredity and other factors. But our diets stink these days and you know a lot of heart disease, cholesterol problems, strokes, diabetes and other diseases are a result of McDonald's instead of home-grown veggies. Another blog topic for another day!

I still give and I spend a large amount of my time trying to help local groups and charities. I believe we should all give and we should all help our fellow man (and woman ;-).

I will give to Christian City any time I can. You can see results, you can see the way they're helping so many live fruitful lives and giving kids a chance at a much better future. The Promise Place, the Joseph Sams School, the Fayette Youth Protection Home and other similar groups are wonderful agencies making a definite impact on the world. They fall into a completely different category than these large cure agencies.

Some days I see press releases totaling in the millions that have been raised to give to the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and others. I am NOT saying they're not worthy, I used to be president of the local American Heart Association and know there are a lot of really great people working their tale ends off trying to make the world a better place.

However, when I think about the dollars that are being given on a local level to these nebulous agencies I have to wonder, has charity become big business?
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