close up of charity entry in the dictionary

In Other News: Charity

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

Saving and improving lives is expensive work. And without donations, most of it would not be possible. This week, the Federal Trade Commission charged four “charities” and their administrators for out-right stealing nearly $200 million. Two charities have already been dissolved. Reprehensible behavior. But if you want to give, how do you know with whom to spend your money? One solution is Charity Watch, an independent organization that can help you understand where and how a donation might be spent. There are a number of other resources and websites; that is just one.

In 2013, Americans gave $335.17 billion to charity. Of that, $240.6 billion was given by individuals (Source).  I’ve been especially interested in final numbers of donations for 2014 for a number of reasons. First, my cousin’s 2-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia. (Did you know that the National Institute of Cancer dedicates only 4% of its funding to pediatric cancer research (Source ) Why did cancer have to touch my family to learn that?) Second, the ice bucket challenge (and Mike Rowe). Here’s my previous post on it! In 2014, the ice bucket challenge raised $220 Million for the ALS Association (Source). That’s about 700% more than the year before (Source). Did more people give in 2014, or did people give more, or did they just give differently? The new numbers, expected next month, will tell.

Who currently gives (or doesn’t), and how much, when, and why are sometimes surprising. Low- and middle-income people give a higher percentage of their income than their high-income counterparts. Residents of large cities are less likely to give. When you compare the level of giving across states and the District, of the 20 most generous, only two voted democrat in the last election (Source). All sorts of assumptions will not be made on why that is the way it is.

Here are five titles that address charities from different perspectives:

Collaborative Capitalism and the Rise of Impact Investing, 1st Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

What is the difference between a charity and a philanthropic organization. Trick question. Sometimes, nothing. How are millenialls and a growing entrepreneur base influencing and changing philanthropy? Explore the global conversation on what makes a company “good” in this new Jossey-Bass title.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 5th Edition. Gale, 2014

Researching cures for diseases like cancer is expensive and difficult. Not only is these researchers creating new medications and treatments, but they are often caught in difficult conversations around risk and reward. Is animal testing a viable method to advance research? To what end? Mice are ok but bunnies aren’t? Each of the organizations cited this week were purportedly supporting cancer research and patients. Cancer research is serious business. Gain insight into cancer with this newly updated title.

Gale Business Insights Handbook of Innovation Management, 1st Edition. Gale, 2013.

There are two benefits that many companies provide and are often under utilized by their employees. Volunteer days and charitable donation matching. Cengage Learning, Gale’s parent company, provides both of these to me and my colleagues. The opportunity to make a difference with students, in the community, or with an organization is a blessing and a valuable part of our corporate social responsibility plan. Dig into the concepts of social innovation and CSR in this student-focused title.

Encyclopedia of Global Studies, 1st Edition. Sage Publications, 2012.

The concept of charity is both sociological and legal. The term charity is also widely unused in non-Western cultures. For many religious states, the practice of giving to others your time, talents, or resources, is fundamental to, and not exclusive from, the religion. In the United States, this is much more separate, particularly with non-religious based organizations. Would making a clothing donation to St. Vincent de Paul be seen as a religious donation? No. What about St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital? Take a look at charity, giving, and their legal implications on a global scale with this Sage title.

Encyclopedia of Transnational Crime and Justice, 1st Edition. Sage Publications, 2012.

Disaster and need tends to bring out the greedy and morally corrupt. Nearly every time a disaster hits, stories flood the news regarding someone or another sending emails/knocking on doors/hosting a webpage to ask for donations, ostensibly to support those affected. Sometimes it’s one person, overspending on personal expenses instead of supporting their cause. In others, it’s a more blatant misrepresentation of what the cause really is. In all parts of the world, this is illegal. (Generally, also found to be disgusting.) All organizations are subject to this oversight. Learn more about these important, reaching concerns in this title.




photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.



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