A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Jan 11, 2010

Charity Word for 2010 -LOCAL - Thank You Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington’s move your money idea is brilliant. It urges us to move funds from the “too big to fail” banks into community banks in an effort to stimulate local lending, job growth and neighborhood services. Stronger communities result in stronger cities, states and countries. In fact, they are the foundation of the solid edifice we call the United States. The ancillary benefit is to remove the means from the hands of those motivated by greed, ego, and selfishness, to feed their narcissism at the expense of ordinary people. Essentially, to eliminate a black hole, where resources go in and nothing comes out.

The non-profit world can learn a lot from Ms. Huffington’s thought. There is a lot of money held by and donated to charities. It should come as no surprise that the same issues would arise. There are those that are not legitimate institutions who scam empathetic citizens for cash as well as those that are real charities that raise funds to pay the costs of making more money. Services, however, are not funneled back to the expectant recipients. The street is one way and ends in the same black hole. For example, there are two entities in the animal welfare business, one in New York and one in Washington DC that can be used to illustrate this point. They each shamelessly market nationally, hopeful that uninformed donors will think their funds will help in their respective zip codes. Not so. The sad reality is that sending funds under such a misimpression simply enables them to buy more television ads and does nothing to help homeless and abused animals locally. There are numerous other local charities eclipsed by “national” corporations, even some who have been shuttered in the last two years, with the attending result of leaving the needy in need.

The solution is to move your money to local charities. The resources, new jobs, services and aid to victims will boost the local economy thus strengthening the community’s ability to thrive. As an auxiliary benefit one can actually visit the charity, see and participate in the work, rather than relying on the appearance of a web site or glossy media appeal. Charity begins at home. It is only when we stand strong that we can lift another. Thank you - Arianna Huffington.

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