Choosing Good Charities in the Age of Woke

 

There are so few really good charitable organizations.  I have a jaundiced view of most. Perhaps that view started when I used to “trick or treat for UNICEF”  as a young child and later learned of some of their issues. Subsequently, I learned that CEOs of some of these charitable institutions skim over a third of total foundation revenues for themselves.

Here’s an example: Doug Gorence, president of the UofMinnesota foundation, is paid 36.4% of total fund donations. $1,484,488 in compensation when the foundation only received $4,075,450. In fact, this foundation seems intent on devoting almost all proceeds to staff compensation. Of the $4.075M received, 3.328M was spent on staff compensation. The balance of 750K in donations was spent on rent, supplies, expenses, ohhh, and possibly something charitable.

Goodwill Directors also appear high on the list of compensation vs total revenue. One example is Dan Nisley, CEO of Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries. He takes in a relatively miserly 13.2% of total revenue or $1.67M of $12.6M of their revenue stream.

For the record, I just dropped off a pile of junk a significant inventory of fine reusable household items to our local Goodwill. It was easy, and I wanted the stuff fine reusable items out of our house.

But I always had a soft spot and warm feelings for the Salvation Army. I believed their army of volunteers really made a difference. I believed they were “old-school”  and they provided emergency services in times of regional and personal tragedy. Then they went woke. 

I still want to give; “kettle bell ringers” hark back to an honored tradition. I am on their email and snail mail lists because I have helped in the past.

I am now conflicted between the good they provide and the antithesis with their woke agenda.

I have a cousin who founded a group called “eight days of hope.” I think, and hope, he and his foundation are still worthy. But I don’t know. Are charitable foundations like all pols and all governments? That is, they start with noble intentions and quickly succumb to the dark tyranny of self-enrichment and aggrandizement.

I don’t know. I hope not.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Did you realize that you posted this twice?

    Apparently so. :-)

    • #1
  2. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Nohaaj:

    That is, they start with noble intentions and quickly succumb to the dark tyranny of self enrichment and engrandizement.

    Yes, just because they’re called “not-for-profit” it doesn’t mean they aren’t lucrative.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Nohaaj:

    That is, they start with noble intentions and quickly succumb to the dark tyranny of self enrichment and engrandizement.

    Yes, just because they’re called “not-for-profit” it doesn’t mean they aren’t lucrative.

    Not for corporate profit, but lots of individuals get rich from them.

    • #3
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Nohaaj:

    That is, they start with noble intentions and quickly succumb to the dark tyranny of self enrichment and engrandizement.

    Yes, just because they’re called “not-for-profit” it doesn’t mean they aren’t lucrative.

    Not for corporate profit, but lots of individuals get rich from them.

    The Clinton foundation, nor the Biden foundation (I presume he has multiples) were listed in the website I referenced,  but their larcenies are hid behind other smoke and mirror manipulations.  Though if we had an honest media, The Big Brandon’s deceits would be easy targets to uncover. 

    • #4
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    American Society for Yad Vashem is a worthy charity.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    When I saw your OP title I got my hopes up that you would discuss self-denunciation and salvation.  Maybe somebody else will do that.

    • #6
  7. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I saw your OP title I got my hopes up that you would discuss self-denunciation and salvation. Maybe somebody else will do that.

    I’ll do it if it will make you feel better.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I saw your OP title I got my hopes up that you would discuss self-denunciation and salvation. Maybe somebody else will do that.

    I’ll do it if it will make you feel better.

    No, it won’t make me feel better. It’ll probably make me feel worse. But it would give me an excuse to comment on the subject.  

    • #8
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Nohaaj:

    Here’s an example: Doug Gorence, president of the UofMinnesota foundation, is paid 36.4% of total fund donations. $1,484,488 in compensation when the foundation only received $4,075,450.   In fact this foundation seems intent on devoting almost all proceeds to staff compensation.  Of the $4.075M received, 3.328M was spent on staff compensation.  The balance of 750K in donations was spent on rent, supplies, expenses, ohhh, and possibly something charitable. 

     

    Must be taking notes from the Clinton Global initiative.

     

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

     

    Drop one of these in the kettle…..

    • #10
  11. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Yeah, non-profit is a tax status, not a business plan. When my father stopped working he tried to volunteer at a couple of nonprofits. He ended up driving for the Red Cross. With his decades of business experience, I assumed these groups would like the idea of an experienced executive willing to work for free, but all of the management level jobs were filled with overpaid full-time employees who did not want anyone to show that someone could do their job for less.

    Normally I like to give to Christian groups, which is why it is so sad to see what’s going on with the Salvation Army.

    • #11
  12. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    One of the best non-profits I found was a small Catholic parish. They accepted donations of household goods that were donated directly to struggling families.

    • #12
  13. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    One of the best non-profits I found was a small Catholic parish. They accepted donations of household goods that were donated directly to struggling families.

    The best move is often to support small local charities.

    • #13
  14. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Almost every highly visible CRT-style activist has a not-for-profit of one sort or another.  

    • #14
  15. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    I am convinced charity only works if it’s relationship-based. With some exceptions like emergency aid for like major conflicts, and major natural disasters. So I give to local charities or individuals I know working in big organizations. Often you might not like the NGO that much,  but you believe in what that individual is doing inside the charity.  I have family that has spent over half to their whole career in the non-profit (not medical) world. Rarely do they live up to their external appearance . If a former employee of a non-profit says they actually are better when you see them internally than they appear externally. That is a good endorsement to fund that non-profit.

     

    Plus their are websites that track what % of donations actually go to their core mission and not admin.  Public funding of education/research has really made it so people don’t like giving to education anymore.  However it not glamorous and the results are long term so people don’t like giving to that. Its sad how many large churches have underutilized buildings yet they seem to not want anything to due with education.

    • #15
  16. Flapjack Lincoln
    Flapjack
    @Flapjack

    As a teacher at a small, Catholic school, it’s worthwhile finding a local charity or non-profit to support.  Keep your money local.  

    • #16
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    I used to run a foundation. What U of Minnesota is doing is way, way out of line with IRS 501c regulations for nonprofits, and generally the IRS is not reluctant to stomp down hard. 

    There’s one small-ish short term exception. When a nonprofit is brand new, it’ll have more staff expenses than usual until it holds activities that raise money. After that point, though, those expenses–in fact all operating expenses (rent, insurance, phones, internet, you name it, plus all staff, not just the bosses) that don’t go towards the stated aims of the group–should not exceed a third, and generally a quarter of revenue. 

    There are two types of foundation: a charitable one exists to deliver donated money to worthy recipients. It’s fairly easy to track how well and how honestly they’re doing it, and how much is being raked off. If you’re giving to help crippled children, and only 15% of the money is reaching them, it’s a scam, and people can go to jail. It’s harder, but still possible to make hard judgments about the other type, operating foundations. This type spends the money on advancing a cause, rather than re-gifting the money. Examples include the NRA foundation as well as my old group, now @titustechera’s, the American Cinema Foundation. 

    • #17
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Drop one of these in the kettle…..

    Heh. Except that I wouldn’t want to make the innocent bell ringer feel bad.

    • #18
  19. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I also support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which uses its donations to fund research on the causes and treatment of CF.  Their/my money funded the discovery of the gene mutations that lead to CF (there are many), and a variety of new drugs and genetic treatments that may actually soon lead to a cure.  When I was a hospital pharmacy tech in the 1970s and 1980s, the average age at death of CF sufferers was 25.  There are now people with CF surviving into their 40s and 50s!

    • #19
  20. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):
    Plus their are websites that track what % of donations actually go to their core mission and not admin. 

    I’ve used Charity Navigator to look up that sort of info.

    • #20
  21. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    One of the best non-profits I found was a small Catholic parish. They accepted donations of household goods that were donated directly to struggling families.

    St. Vincent de Paul Society chapters are locally run, and provide similar services.

    • #21
  22. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):
    Plus their are websites that track what % of donations actually go to their core mission and not admin.

    I’ve used Charity Navigator to look up that sort of info.

    thank you, that is a great resource.  Based upon my familial knowledge, and the score, I really like Eight Days of Hope.

    They scored a 94 out of 100.  They were dinged 3 points for lack of a whistle blower program, and 3 points for missing a formal document retention and destruction process.  

    • #22