Monday, January 6, 2014
I finally matched the donations some of you made to my nanowrimo fundraising site, as I promised. This year, the organization has raised over one million dollars for writing programs for young people and adults. With all of your help I personally raised $820. Thank you so much!
Fundraising was hard to do. I had to ask my friends and colleagues for financial support. Granted, it was for a cause dear to my heart. However, since my cause was a cultural one, I felt a little guilty. There are so many other worthy causes, and somehow it seems to me that many other causes are, in fact, worthier. Homelessness, the suffering in the Philippines, hungry children . . . the list goes on and on. Helping people (even young people) to write their own novels? Sure seems like a first world cause to me.
And it turns out, I'm not too far off the mark. A recent article by Robert Reich (an ex-Secretary of Labor) claims that $33 billion of last year's $39 billion of total charitable deductions (as listed on our tax returns) went to the richest 20% of all American institutions. The kind of wealthy recipients Reich mentions are operas, museums, symphonies, as well as elite schools and universities.
Now, I know that many of those organizations support the non-wealthy, just as nanowrimo does. It still seems like not enough. So what is enough?
I'm not sure but, I pledge to take some time this month to decide what causes that help the poor I want to give money to. I promise to read more of Robert Reich's writing, and watch his movie Inequity for All. I'd like to find out what works to reduce poverty. I also need to figure out how much money I would like to earmark. It will be at least as much as I donated to nanowrimo last year.
If anyone out there has any ideas for me, let me know.
NOTE: I do not mean to diminish anyone's contribution, including my own. I am happy and proud that people I know donated their hard-earned money to nanowrimo when I asked them to. These are just some thoughts I had after reading Reich's article.