Philanthropy!

This one is for El Gwapo since he was kind enough to make me think about this word and it’s meaning.  As per Dictionary.com:

phi·lan·thro·py

[fi-lan-thruh-pee] Show IPA

noun, plural -pies.

1.

altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.
2.

the activity of donating to such persons or purposes in this way: to devote one’s later years to philanthropy.
3.

a particular act, form, or instance of this activity: The art museum was their favorite philanthropy.
Let’s look at each of the four meanings of this very special word.  The first one is more or less left to those whom have excessive amounts of money to contribute though there are those that contribute over time to the extent taht the other parties do.  Most of these people generally contribute to schools or hospitals.  They generally do so and get the promise from the entity to which they make their (tax write off) donation to, to name a building or something after them.  Yes, there I said it again.  Tax write off.  Many of the wealthy use a limited but usually maxed out amount of contributions as a tax shelter or writeoff.  Admittedly there is only so much that can be written off as contributions.  Then  it’s that persons money.
Getting back on subject, the wealthy besides, donating monetary funds donate time in the form of public speaking engagements.  Think of one of our former presidents (I am in the U.S. for those that may stop by from a country outside of mine) donating an hour to give a short speech as well as have a short Q&A session.  Most public speakers charge between $30K and $60K per hour.  At least the most successful do. So they’ve contributed a check to a school, hospital, or other charity as well as monetary funds in their speaking performance.  All well and good.  This is definitely a plus for those asking for the donations.
Ok.  Moving on to the second description.  Let me use a very dear and known name to you and me both to tag this one.  Bill Gates.  Yes, the billionaire.  He’s publicly stated that his children will have to earn their money the old fashion way (I won’t comment on this statement here).  He’s using his entire fortune to benefit man/woman in various projects funded through his and his wife’s organization aptly named Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Every now and then you’ll hear of this organization and what it does.  That or you’ll look it up on the web.  They take other people’s donations as well.  Most of what I’ve found out about their projects has been positive.  They’ve helped the homeless, they’ve helped educate African’s about AIDS, Bill himself is active with a company who’s sole job is to make it so weather forecasters can better predict hurricanes saving ungodly amounts of money, manpower, and time.    It’s truly amazing that this man acquired all this wealth and is spending it to do some good though I’m not a fan of Microsoft (more later).  This is philanthropy to its finest.
As to the third description I think  those that volunteer their time or money or both such as the people in El Gwapo’s group (Resurrections) which the homeless refer to as Hotdog Joe’s as well as those that do the tireless work at the Soup Cellar best fit this description.  They volunteer their time if nothing else.  Some contribute their money to help these organizations.  Then still there are others who do volunteer work in any number or fashion to help others out.  They all fall under the third definition for philanthropy.  Most of these people are middle class or even the poor themselves helping out those less fortunate.  They can be church groups or any other group or individual.  Even I could be a philanthropist with the measly $127 disability check I get from the Veteran’s Administration.
Now number four via Dictionary.com’s definition I don’t believe in.  A philanthropy organization is  a fallacy.  First of all they have a staff that gets paid to select the work they fund.  Most times that pay comes out of the donations either monetarily or otherwise.  Like all charities, these organizations generally come at an administrative fee.”  This to me excludes them from the definition proper.   Charities are just that ,charities.  They are not meant to be organizations used by greedy people to enhance their agenda or their own gains which so many administrators do now.
Don’t believe me, look at your local public school system.  Don’t believe that, ask any charity Muscular Dystrophy Association, The American Cancer Society or others, what administrative costs they have.  You’ll be astonished.  Some run as high as 30%.  That’s right up to 30 cents on every dollar is taken out on administrative costs.  It’s pretty shameful what others will do to get into yours and my pockets in the name of charity/philanthropy.
Alright, that’s what I’ve considered philanthropy.  I know others have their definitions too.  However, one thing is for certain.  All organizations whether it be places like Oliver Gospel Mission or the Muscular Dystrophy Association have administrative fees.  Look before you donate and find out just how much is going to those that are needing the charity of others to get by from day to day.  If an organization is spending more than 15% of it’s donations on administrative fees then they are spending too much that should go to those they are championing.  That figure is ball park.  you can set that standard higher or lower.  You may think 10% is too much in administrative costs.  As for me, I haven’t got the money to be a philanthropist.
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