January 21, 2010
With all the desperate appeals for funds to help the Haitian people, I am concerned about where all that money is really going.
Granted, major organizations like The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and World Vision have all been doing vital work around the globe for many years. But even the highly respected Oxfam Quebec had a financial scandal a few years back. Organizations are not a conduit from your bank into the mouths of hungry babes. There are lots and lots of hands in between.
While I was helping out Bobby Beale during the English language schools crisis in St.Leonard, I found myself in some interesting "back rooms" where we plotted logistics to get Italian-Canadian children into secret underground classrooms. In that milieu, I met some very interesting people who would have scared me to death in any other setting.
I also met a charming fellow who told me about his work for a community organization, highly respected around the world. He had recently organized a fund raising scheme for them, selling advertisements for a program booklet.
He really opened my eyes: A hefty percentage of the funds he had raised went right into his own pocket and the organization agreed to it, on the basis of this "logic":
Without the fund raising program, the organization would get zero funds. So, even though the charity organizer took a full ninety percent of the funds he raised with the sale of the ads, the organization still benefited with ten percent.
It blew my mind. I never forgot it.