Where should charity money go?

I have recently seen (especially in Wal-Mart), signs and buttons asking for donations to the WWII memorial monument. That got me to thinking – couldn’t that money be better spent?

I mean, I have nothing against WWII veterans – they obviously did this country (and the world) a great service. But if I have a couple extra bucks, I think it would be better used to feed the poor or give an orphan a winter coat or something.

This encompasses a wider range. Is there a ‘better’ charity type (not specific charity organization) that we should focus on? I mean, I give a money to a church/state separation organization, several skeptics groups, etc. I think they are performing a valuable service. I also donate to the public library for the same reason. Are there some charities that really don’t provide any sort of valuable service? Are there some that we should focus on?

I guess wouldn’t think of fundraising for a WWII monument as contributing to a charity -just as a donation toward a public expression of gratitude. (Since we have monuments and memorials to veterans of other specific wars, why not?) I haven’t seen the Walmart signs, but were they asking for small change (a la the Salvation Army) or were they asking for something more substantial? Contributing the price of a cup of coffee is different from, say, sitting down and writing a check for $25 or more.

Deciding what charity types are more “worthy” is, I think, strictly in the eyes of the beholder. A charity, generally speaking, is worthy if you can wholeheartedly support their goals. You mention that you thought money for a WWII memorial could be better spent on feeding the poor or giving a orphan a coat, but the first types of organizations you list as examples of your preferred charities do neither of those things - so are your preferred charities somehow less worthy? :wink: Not if you feel they’re performing a valuable service - and that’s what counts.

Now, for anyone trying to decide on a worthy charity that doesn’t actually spend most of its budget on fund-raising activities (e.g., there was a report some years ago on NBC, I think, about “Save Our Children” being a good example of that), people might want to head to websites for the Independent Charities of America or National Charities Information Bureau for help in finding organizations that one can feel comfortable giving money to.

BTW, a friend of mine who used to work for a charitable organization once griped that the profusion of charities for certain areas of medical research (e.g., cancer, heart ailments) actually made it difficult to effectively use donations for research, since the potential pool of money was spread too thinly to be of much help in covering research costs.

Yes, we should focus on the “John John Own Your Own Island Fund,” more commonly referred to as the JJOYOI Fund, or just JOY for short. I will put your money to good use, I assure you.



There are always going to be poor people. If you feel strongly that WWII vets need more recognition, then that charity is a perfectly reasonable one. Myself I give to the United Way and let them split it up how they want :slight_smile:

I have to disagree. I think the WWII monument is vital in order to remind future generations about the sacrifice put forth by those citizen soldiers. I know people who have gone to the Vietnam memorial and been moved to tears (actually, I was one of them). It is a moving site. In fact, I think that is one of the prime problems with this nation. It has forgotten that all of this is paid for in blood (revolutionary war, civil war, WW1, WW2). It may seem inconsequential but I think it is truly valuable.

Nominee for 2nd Annual SDMB Awards:

  • Most rational in the face of a heated argument
  • BBQ Pit’s Rookie of the Year

This sums up the issue for me. Charity is a matter of personal choice, and of individual passions and priorities. When I was working in the NPO world, I was extremely passionate about that particular cause. While I always gritted my teeth over people spending all kinds of money to support “the arts” in our little town, instead of giving money so women could be free of abuse, I understand that people give where their heart is. We spent a lot of energy on what you might call PR, in order to convince people to care about battered women. Can be a tougher sell than say, a new hockey rink for the 25 kids whose parents feel they need it. Or paying the a New York ballet company gobs of money for a mountain vacation, with a few performances thrown in (not free performances, of course).

Ahem. Obviously I have my biases. We all do, and we express them with our donations.

There’s a more important issue at stake here:

Are donations to the WW2 monument tax-deductible?

Just thought I would add a little snipet from Colorado’s General Assembly page. This memorial isn’t totally funded by donations:

H.B. 99-1354 Contribution to national world war II memorial - appropriation. Directs the division of veterans affairs in the department of human services to make a one-time contribution toward the construction of the national world war II memorial in Washington, D.C., recognizing the contributions of the men and women throughout the nation, including Colorado, who honorably served their nation during world war II. Directs that such contribution is to be transferred into the fund created into the United States treasury for amounts contributed from public and private sources to establish such memorial pursuant to federal law.
Appropriates $134,000 to the department of human services for allocation to the division of veterans affairs. Makes adjustments in the 1999 long bill for the capital construction fund and the department of transportation.
APPROVED by Governor May 27, 1999 EFFECTIVE August 4, 1999

If all 50 states spent $134,000 each, it would total $6,700,00.00 for the memorial.

silly me and my typos…that’s $6,700,000.00 ARGH