Monday, 25 April 2011

The Charity Funnel

I sat and watched a discussion tonight on money and morality.  Basically, the thrust of this discussion was supposed to charge people up and feel "great" about an obligation on charity....to the degree that even the government's obligation on charity is a "great" feeling, and you shouldn't allow yourself to let that feeling diminish.  That was a hint, that when folks start talking over the next 100 days about cutting the budget....your feeling of fighting for funding and morality should be charged up.

The urge here....is that you help the least of those in society.

For a number of years....I believed in that.  I worked with a guy who got a call one night.  His dear sister....who'd married an abuser....called for help from several states away.  He got in the car and drove.  He picked her twenty-four hours later and brought her and the two kids back to his family.  His intention was to offer shelter and home to her.  He and his wife spent two months reshaping her life and getting her to the point of getting a job and becoming independent.  Then the call came.

The abusive husband spent an hour or two, and then convinced her to give up the plan.  The abusive husband drove out and had her completely changed again.  Over a couple of days....the sister finally announced that she'd like to leave but she needed a loan to help abusive husband and her restart their lives.....namely....$5k.

My associate spent an minute in silence and simply said he'd give her $1k to leave....not a loan but just a $1k to leave.  That was it.  The abusive husband was kinda upset and the sister was really expecting the brother to roll and just loan them the entire amount.  That didn't happen.

After the couple left with their $1k.....it took around two months for a call to occur that the abusive husband had beat up the sister again.  My associate really didn't want to hear the episode and just told her to call the cops.  He didn't need to be involved.

There's a point where charity has burnt too many bridges, and you stand there shaking your head.  We've probably spent over $10 billion since 1960 on homelessness in America.  Frankly, there's nothing much to show for the effort.

We've probably given as a nation and in a personal way....well over $100 billion from America and Europe since the 1960s to Africa.  Frankly, there's not much to show for the effort.

I'd kinda like for us to stand up and just suggest give them all just one final check for whatever amount they want, and then smile to say that charity didn't really improve much of anything.  It's best to figure out where you screwed up and start working to fix that one problem.  It doesn't matter if you are some homeless guy or some society in Paraguay.  We've given enough to expect some results.  Otherwise, things have shifted from being a charity to being some front money to just keep things going like they are.