Like any kid, (or perhaps I was singular in this), I did not always embrace the lessons taught by my parental units. At least not right away; but most of them got through regardless or perhaps despite my somewhat anti-authoritarian attitude.
I have written about my mother's feelings and attitudes about tithing previously, but my father had equally strong feelings about charities and giving. For one thing he went along with my mother's belief in tithing. Actually, they were generally united in their attitudes and beliefs; perhaps that is why their marriage lasted, but I digress.
My father had strong views about most things including the value of charities. He also was committed to serving his community. I guess I didn't realize it while I was growing up, but over the years, I have come to recognize it and (some of) the lessons that he taught me. First off, he was a Mason and he joined them about the time I was born. I don't ever remember a time when he didn't wear his Masonic ring, and one of his requests was that he have the Masonic service when he died. After my sisters and I were grown, he even became a 32nd degree Mason as well as a Shriner. And even before he became a Shriner, he and Mom supported the Shriners' Hospitals charities as one of their charities.
Not only that, but he was a community volunteer for VITA, which is an organization that helps train volunteers in the community to help persons fill out their tax forms for free. Unlike H&R Block, VITA helps people get their taxes done easily and correctly, and without cost. After my father retired, he volunteered for this tax training which is given by the IRS, and he continued to do this yearly until he finally stopped a few years ago at the age of 88. It was through this volunteer service that he taught me something new about charities. In his capacity of volunteer, he realized that many charities' donations were more to keep the charity going, that is, for administration costs. His lesson was this: always ask how much of the donation was going to the cause itself.
I was reminded of this lesson this morning. I received an unsolicited phone call from a charity this morning. The telemarketer asked for a modest donation of ten dollars for this charity. When I asked how much of this donation went to the "cause" that is, to the cure/the patients's care, I was told 15%. I replied, "only $ 1.50?" He told me that there are costs associated with running the charity like computers and phones and more. My response was that it was a poor return on my charity dollars, and that I preferred to sponsor charities like the Shriners Hospital where about 90-95% of the donation actually goes to the work of the charity. To me, that is a good return!
Lesson learned, Dad!
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association