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The last year and a half have brought a great deal of financial hardship and suffering to a great many institutions: religious, arts, theatres, etc. We’ve become members of a number of organizations and donated to many more. I have operated under the belief that I will throw $20 towards everything that brought our lives value and meaning in Before Times, in hope that they will still be around in the After Times.
In the last few months though, I’ve shifted that belief. Especially in a post-vaccine world where we’re still behaving as though it’s the spring of 2020, I’m through being nice. I’ve decided to donate and participate in institutions that view their work as essential, and as such, have tried as best they can to operate normally. Synagogues that opened their doors to my kids and shifted their programming outside, summer camps that did the same, non-profits like Mount Vernon that went to the drawing board and created and expanded their outdoor events as creatively as possible.
Anyone who thought their entire mission could be accomplished online need not apply. Did you close your doors for over a year and now require masking and distancing my small children outdoors as a condition for their participation? I’m sorry, we’re done here. Do you think that all of your programming can be done on Zoom? Well then, I suppose you don’t need my contributions any longer. And no, I won’t be attending a classical musical concert online. That’s not “attending” a concert, that’s watching, and I can do that on YouTube.
With all of the fundraising letters and emails that roll in that talk about the “vital and essential” work these organizations and institutions do, the COVID year and a half (and counting) have been very instructive. If your belief is that you can take off from that work for that amount of time, your work is clearly neither vital nor essential, and my money is better spent elsewhere.Published in