Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Uncharitable


He’s in his 40’s, he’s pulling in a healthy executive-level salary, and he said he’s lived in the Lowcountry all his life. He had never heard of the Community Foundation until ten minutes ago when we were introduced, and he said for him, no – charitable giving is not high on his priority list. “I pay taxes for programs that provide the same services charities provide, and anyhow, poor people have enough given to them without me chipping in to add to all the resources available to them.” I asked him where he lives, where he went to school, and what he does in his off-time. And just as I suspected, it turns out he’s benefited throughout his life as much as anyone in the Lowcountry from the services provided by non-profit organizations. And I told him so . . .

Most of us who are privileged may think we “pay our own way”, but I bet all of us benefit from the nonprofit sector more than we ever stop to think. He went to public K-12 schools where half the faculty had received small grants for classroom projects, including the field trips he went on. Yes, he went to college with help from a scholarship, “but that’s not charitable,” he said, “because I deserved it.” He’s a regular at the theatre and at concerts, but no one ever told him that charitable donors subsidize him by paying the performance cost that’s not covered by his ticket price. And when he drives down tree-canopied roads to his home near a salt marsh, it never occurred to him that those vistas are there thanks in large part to the work of environmental non-profits. Oh yes, and he adores his dog, Webster, adopted two years ago from a local (non-profit) animal shelter, neutered and micro-chipped with someone else’s donated dollars.

1 comment:

Mike Laskavy said...

Excellent post. I just posted a link to this blog on Twitter. More people should recognize the way nonprofits have contributed to their lifestyles, even if they think they themselves have never "received" anything from said nonprofits. Sadly, to paraphrase the prison warden in "Cool Hand Luke," some men you just can't reach...