Played for a sucker, one last time
The latest charity to which I contributed was the new National WWII Museum. A rather hefty contribution, in fact, in honor of my dad who was killed in action in France in WWII.
Since sending the organization a check, it has inundated me with endless requests for more money and pushing me to buy all sorts of useless tchotchkes. It is safe to say the organization has spent more in mailings and brochures sent to me than I contributed.
This, regretably, is not unusual. Numerous other organizations that have been recipients over the years of my contributions meant as supportive of their programs and goals have done the same mindless thing. I can site such groups as the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Capital City Rescue Mission, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, the American Red Cross and on and on.
By contrast, I also contribute significant sums through Rotary International, the 1.2 million-member global public service organization of which I long have been a member. In all the years I have done so, I have never been targeted for continual arm-twisting for more money.
It has been said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So, I am proclaiming my mental health to be strong and my charitable contributions from, now on to be limited to Rotary projects, be they local or international.
Locally, our Rotary club — Southern Rensselaer County, in my case, of which I am the current president — supports family service organizations, Boy Scouts, college scholarships, food pantries, literacy, the Gift of Life organization that brings children here for lifesaving cardiac surgery, and other undertakings. Globally, we support the ongoing battle to eradicate polio, provide ShelterBoxes which bring temporary shelters, tools, water purifying equipment, first-aid supplies and similar materials to areas ravaged by the forces of nature.
When I see the direct result of the hard personal work and generosity of my fellow Rotarians that does only good rather than becoming a catalyst for incessant fundraising, I know that decision is a proper one.
The most recent example is the $11,000 by club of fewer than 30 members raised to bring a Honduran youngster to Albany for lifesaving cardiac surgery under the auspices of the Gift of Life program. Little Danny Sarmiento is an example of what can be accomplished without wasting money on browbeating and annoying people who want only to help.
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