I was a recent college grad when I took a job with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I was young, idealistic and wanted a job that would be emotionally fulfilling. I naively thought that working for a non-profit organization would provide me with the sensation of doing something for the greater good. It did not. Within a year I realized that non-profit organizations are mainly filled with people who are driven by money. Raising money and finding new ways of raising money is their only focus. I learned three important things while working there.
#1 Give Locally
Your local vet clinic, homeless shelter, food bank will take your money and put it to use right away helping the people in your neighborhood. Your money will not go to feed and/or support a large bureaucracy that must pay salaries, bonuses and office supplies for their employees.
#2 Don’t Give Money
If at all possible give something that can’t be corrupted. Whenever I can I prefer to donate food, books, time, clothes, ANYTHING but money. Money is easily manipulated and wasted on things that you would rather not see your charitable money being spent.
#3 Work For The United Way
It is a widely held belief within the non-profit industry that if you want to make “real” money you go work for the United Way. They pay top dollar for their employees. This tells me as a person donating to NEVER donate to the United Way.
Even with this jaded and cynical attitude I still have two causes that evoke my passion. Causes for which I will give and/or do anything. They are literacy and food. I feel passionate that if you feed people and teach them to read you can change the world. People have endless potential when they don’t have to worry about their next meal and when they can self-educate. First and foremost I believe that women should know how to read. They are the mothers of the world and only they can influence and change the future of our society. It is imperative.
As a result when I read Seagull Fountain’s review of “Three Cups of Tea” at 1:00 in the morning while I fed the baby I could not stop thinking. I was awake for another two hours thinking about the girls of the world. My heart breaking about the young women of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other nations who are left out of the educational process. Girls who will never know the wonder and power of books – even their own religious texts. As I lay there awake thinking about these girls and asking myself what can I DO to help this cause I thought well, I could write another blog post about Seagull Fountain’s review and thus continue the cycle of awareness. I could also provide a link to Greg Mortenson’s charitable cause iKat and encourage you to help.
You teach a girl to read, you teach a family to read. You teach a family to read, you teach a town to read. You teach a town to read, you can change the world.
2 thoughts on “See, I Do Care”
One thing I’ve heard about Mortensen’s philosophy (though it wasn’t in this book, maybe the Stones into Schools?) is that when a girl is educated enough to read the Koran herself and understand un-militant Islam, she won’t encourage or allow her sons to become suicide bombers. Bec. apparently jihadists are supposed to have parental permission. So it really is a very direct link between literacy and peace.
I applaud your causes of choice, but I have to add my two cents about the United Way. Before I started serving on a UW committee (Livingston County, MI), I would have agreed. I do not know what our small local staff is paid, but I have seen that work hard, are very caring and they are worth it. The overhead is not so large and they are able to leverage donations to get additional money from grants and such that every dollar donated becomes $1.89 in value for the partner agencies.
Not sure if that is the case in TX, but that is how I see it working here.
I do want to read Mortenson’s book. It’s on my list…I enjoy your blog!