Why I Give

Had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about our patterns of charity. Realized that my giving falls into three distinct buckets.

1) My Things
“My Things” are the institutions that I was a part of – Stanford, Vassar, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. There’s definitely some self-interest here — keep them excellent so I can bask in their brand glow.

2) Your Things
“Your Things” are the various endeavors that my friends are part of – ongoing or event driven. Friends that are on various boards, doing an AIDS ride, etc. I’m always good for a small sum – usually $25-50 – regardless of the institution. It’s just about supporting the people i care about.

3) Balancing Out Evil
I use my money to try and counter specific activities that offend me. For example, after reading a story about Taliban forces shelling a school that taught young girls, i donated to a charity which supports the education of women across the world. When pro-life activists bomb a clinic or murder a doctor, i give to choice groups. I feel strongly about equal and opposite force in the face of those trying to destroy personal freedoms or equality.

Interestingly i’m not usually motivated by natural tragedy – i don’t think i gave to katrina funds, tsunami rescue, etc. Why? Sometimes it doesn’t feel personal enough. Sometimes it’s skepticism that funds are going to be used well in the moment of crisis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s