Why am I so uncomfortable with the word "charity"? Yet I use the word to symbolize a thought or feeling. I feel more charitable or less charitable today. Maybe it's because I feel the word demeans the intent. But, nonetheless this year I am producing my 9th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show for "Charity."
Figures reported by Statistics Canada suggest that our citizens are among the world's most generous. Canadians have been donating approximately eight-billion dollars or more every year since 2007. As individuals get older, they may begin thinking in terms of the wealth that they have accumulated and what can safely be spared, identifying a charity believed to be worthy of sharing in their assets.
The last thing we needed was a roadblock. I feel exposed -- I am a white woman in the passenger seat of a car in Nicaragua. The people of Barrio Nuevo Amanecer, in Esteli, Nicaragua, are protesting against violence in their community. Their grief is fresh because last week, a 23-year-old mother of three was murdered. Forced into prostitution by her husband, her life was taken by a john.
The results of a recent study conducted by MoneySense on charity spending are shocking, to say the least. The difference in the ways that charities are being run is frightening. I counted 13 very well-known charities that spend less than 50 per cent of the money they raise on programs. Two were less than 40 per cent!
We've all heard the saying "It's like herding cats." As challenging as that might be, it's not much more difficult than building consensus with a global committee: everyone has a different view, and often a territorial approach to meetings. In fact, while herding cats is tough, creating a brand change in corporations may be even tougher.
Charities are a big business and this business is becoming more competitive and costly each year. There are over 85,000 organizations on the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate. They employ a lot of people to chase more than $8.3 billion dollars in donations as reported by Statistics Canada. When you make a donation with your hard earned money, you want it to go to the cause. It is understood that some of the donation will be used for administrative costs and fundraising but one hopes that a large percentage will reach the people you intend to help. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
There's something families can do together to start 2013 on the right foot. It's a New Year's "tithe." The concept of tithing, the setting aside of one-tenth of our earnings for a purpose other than our own use, is thousands of years old. This January, instead of a list of resolutions that you may not keep, why not consider a New Year's legacy?
Like my parents before me, I have tended to go a bit overboard in the present department, vowing each year that I would buy less, and give more. Well, this year I can proudly say I've done it. I am not sure whether it was the weather, the state of the economy, or losing some special friends this year, but I've found it harder to get into the Christmas mood, so I have shopped less and donated more.