Today in My History
Books Read in 2022
Books Read in 2022
23 August 2022
At the end of each year, when Walt was helping his mother close out her finances for the year, she always had him write checks to her favorite charities. They weren't big checks -- something like $5-$10, but she felt she wanted to contribute something to a number of charities.
I don't have a lot of charities that I donate to, but I feel good about the ones that I do send money to. Perhaps one of the most rewarding is Kiva.
I learned about Kiva when I read Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth." Kiva is a 501 non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 77 countries. Kiva's mission is "to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive."
You donate $25 to Kiva and choose the person to whom you want to loan it. Kiva takes your money and combines it with the money from other donors and funds the person in a third world. The borrowers have to repay the loan and when the loan is repaid you have your choice to take your $25 back or loan ot to someone else. More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Through Kiva's work, students can pay for tuition, women can start businesses, farmers are able to invest in equipment and families can afford needed emergency care.
I've been loaning to Kiva for many years and have made 77 loans to 29 different countries. The borrowers have done everything from raising cattle to running a beauty salon or other grocery store to -- my favorite -- making and selling gin. All but two loans have been repaid and one of the two which was not repaid was, sadly, in the United States (a man who wanted to sell baseball caps at stadiums)
Compassion, Intl is another charity to which I donate money.
Compassion International is an American child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that aims to positively influence the long-term development of children globally who live in poverty. Wikipedia
This is a religious organization and I'm not religious, but at the time I first started donating (2009) it was the only organization I found which let you have interaction with the children you are sponsoring. In fact, they so encourage letters between children and sponsors that if a sponsor doesn't want to write, they will find a volunteer to do the writing.
I currently sponsor six children and write to a few more. I had to drop some of my sponsorships when COVID hit and I was not earning any money from writing theater reviews. When you log into the Compassion web site to write your child a letter (you can write on line, or write on paper) there are always suggestions for things they would like you to donat to, but basically they don't bother you otherwise.
Recently I received a check from my mother's insurance and so I had some extra money and sent gift checks to two of my kids - to Fred, whom I have been sponsoring the longest (since 2009) and to Briana, in Haiti, because I know the terrible situation for everyone in Haiti.
As soon as I sent those two donations, I started hearing from Compassion about other gifts I could give.
This is the problem I have with donating to charities, even charities for which I have a strong feeling. After my mother's insurance check came in, I decided to sign up to donate $19/month to St. Jude's hospital. I think the work they do there, without charge to the children or their parents, with housing for the parents while the kids are being treated, and the work they are doing to lower the death rate of kids (seems to me that most kids with leukemia now leave St. Jude's cured). I've wanted to donate to St. Jude for a long time, but just didn't have the steady income to do it. I felt good when I signed the form for the monthly donation.
And as soon as that donation went through, I started getting mail from St. Jude about how I could donate more, leave my estate to the hospital, etc.
It makes me so angry that all you have to do is be generous and make a donation that the charity bombards you with requests for more money.
Our worst experience with this was with Special Olympics. Walt and I donated to Special Olympics for several months and we started getting daily requests for more money. We would get things in the mail and in email.
I wrote to them and said that their mail was bothersome and could they please stop mailing me more than once a day to ask for more money. Nothing happened, so I called them because this was becoming a "thing" with me and I wanted to continue sponsoring Special Olympics, but I didn't want to continue getting demands for more money more than once a day. I explained that to the person I talked with, who said he couldn't do anything to stop that, so we stopped donating to Special Olympics. Whenever I see Special Olympics on TV and think how I'd love to be sponsoring the athletes again but there ain't no way I'm going to put myself in the situation of getting all those demands again.
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This is entry #8185