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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Give to nonprofits’

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Published: Thursday, March 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Perhaps the local churces there in UT could pool their resources and sustain those charites mentioned by the article which serve the poor.

In 2010, Catholic Charities USA reported expenditures of between $4.2 billion and $4.4 billion, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which publishes an annual list of the 400 biggest charities in the United States, ranked by the amount of donations they receive. This enabled it to rank near the top of the 400 list, behind two major social-services charities -- the United Way and the Salvation Army, neither of which is affiliated with the Catholic church.

Meanwhile, Catholic News Service has noted a few other Catholic organizations that made the Chronicle’s annual 400 list, including Father Flanagan Boys Home and Covenant House.

Then if you suppose that the 18,000 Catholic parishes spent an average of $200,000 on the needy every year beyond what they contribute to any of these charitable organizations, a number also considered plausible by our experts, that would add another $3.6 billion to the total.
(Politifact)

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Charity is unfair, ineffective, expensive and has never accomplished its mission in the history of the world.

Charity in America is a business. There is no such thing as a non-profit business operation, all business operations have the main purpose of increasing the wealth of their owners.

Charity is truly the most glaring example of some people living off the labor of others.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:UltraBob

You made some good points. Many, but not all, charities are simply lucrative businesses. "The number of charities more than doubled from 1995 to 2010, increasing from 626,000 to nearly 1.3 million. From 2001 to 2010, the number of charities grew by more than 48 percent, from 865,096. The number of charities and foundations registered with the Internal Revenue Service fell by 16 percent in 2011, mostly because more than 272,000 organizations lost their tax-exempt status after failing to follow the law by filing informational tax forms.

Another reason for the decline in the number of organizations with charity status is the sharp drop in the number of wealthy people creating foundations."
(Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Farmintown
Salt Lake City, Utah

There certainly is 'charity' as a business and 'charity' as a service by an organized group. In looking at an organizations direct contribution to its intended services I like to look at what percentage is going to admin costs, if under 10% it is an easy decision. I also like to look at the pay of the executive staff vs. the working group. While the executives do justify more I have observed some organizations with the executive director getting $200k plus while the average worker is $15-20k. However I have also seen organization where the average is $35-45k for the workers and $65k for the executive director, a more palatable range. Fortunately most all have board of directors that are totally voluntary. Last, but not least is that opportunity to individually provide true charity with or without knowledge by the public. If someone else takes my resources by compulsion and then redistributes it, that is not charity.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

My kindergartener recently brought home an info packet about a fundraiser her school was participating in. They would be selling cookie dough in order to raise funds for a school iPad lab.

First, call me old-school, but I think there are a lot of better ways we could improve schools and education than supplying kids with iPads. Give 'em pencils and paper for crying out loud.

Second, only 30% of the fundraiser's proceeds went to the school. Compared to some "charities", that's still pretty generous. Still, it makes one wonder how much is going to overhead? And for what they're charging, the product can't be -that- good.

Fundraisers like these are just corporations' looking to capitalize on cheap labor and community heartstrings. I did not allow my child to participate (though I did happily and generously contribute to their jog-a-thon and watched with pride as my five-year-old ran almost a mile and a half in 20 minutes!)

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:Danny
Perhaps your school has more pressing needs than an IPAD lab-- do they have a computer lab? But i would not be too quick to dismiss the incorporation of new technologies into your child's education. It would be akin to our ancestors clinging to writing slates and chalk. I remember reading about Bill Gates and his success was due, in part, to being in the "right" place at the right time. The school he was attending was one of few that had access to a computer lab--which provided the impetus and education for him to go on to achieve great things.

As for the type of charity the school uses to fund raise, you could bypass the charity entirely and donate directly for the IPAD lab or "jog-a-thon" (as you did). Not defending the method, but I suppose schools use these types of charities because it is successful. If families buy cookie dough anyway, buying cookie dough that donates some of the profits back to the school is an easy sell.

Kids can learn much in different and interesting ways.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Ultra Bob,

I certainly understand that charities can be more business than service organization (and a few are downright shams). But I have worked with many charities (some quite good size) that meet critical community needs and do so VERY effectively and efficiently. If I had a loved one who was in need of their services, I would not hesitate for a moment to refer them to these organizations. In various circumstances, I have referred friends to them.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My ire towards charity probably started back when employees were forced to contribute to things like the United Way, so that the CEO could get his annual award for 100%. It wasn’t so much the amount of money but the mandatory requirement to give money to organizations that I did not support like the Arts and a whole list of dubious scams.

As a voluntary leader for several years in the Boy Scouts I was shot down emotionally to find out how much the Salt Lake Boy scout organization was paying the top leaders. My wife seems to have a permanent unpleasant memory of the Red Cross and the extravagance of their efforts to obtain voluntary labor.

But my real complaint is that they accomplish so little and brag that little to high heaven.

Seems like charity supporters fear, criticize and fight our governments efforts to help people. Their efforts in this way make me believe that it is the profit motive driving them. Only the government is big enough to actually do anything to actually stop the needs for charity, but this would take away the cash cow.

sigmund5
Salt Lake City, UT

I will never give a cent to Utah non-profits. They only allow self-righteous conservatives to feel like they are moral and doing good and then turn around and be against accepting federal money for expansion of medicaid, raising the minimum wage (because it would hurt their middle class materialist consumption driven lifestyle) and increasing education funding.

Rocket Science
Brigham City, UT

Sigmund, you are interesting. You WILL NOT give to charities yet you are obviously for confiscatory tax and spend laws that support the ever expanding role of government policies to fund entitlements that keep many in poverty. To each their own but find a good charity or event and give.

Perhaps we should call a truce on the mane calling though - - - everyone could support Scouting for Food tomorrow morning - every last can of food will go to feed those who are needy and we all can help. Have your food out on your front porch by 9:00 AM and Boy Scouts will be by to pick it up. In fact put in an extra can or two and not any "red cents" and see how good you feel about it!

DistantThunder
Vincentown, NJ

Charity begins at home. Teach your kids not to need charity by getting and staying married.

By having children after marriage. (The best predictor of poverty is single motherhood. We have an STD epidemic in the US.)
By working hard and getting a good education. (People with a masters degree have an less than 1% unemployment rate.)
Eat well, don't smoke. (My grandmother used to fund our treats and excursions with her "cigarette money." While the people around her smoked, she's deposit a similar amount of money in a jar and used it to enrich the lives of her grandchildren. She died at 97 in her sleep, after she had gone grocery shopping the previous day.)
Ignore the cynics who say kids don't need a father (or a mother).
By being very, very honest.

I've had my older children sit down with the Economist magazine and tell me how many of the problems in the stories could have been prevented. Teaching children prevention is an act of charity, too.

And donate to charity.

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