Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fair giving for healthy living

I was impressed by recent news stories about super-rich people dabbling in philanthropy.  Let us watch with interest this endeavour's progress.  Perhaps it will prolong or prevent a revolution of the classes, especially with the U.S. embroiled over the push to extend tax cuts for the rich.  Are they serious? 
We wouldn't want to see a Canadian billionaire's hard-earned money thrown at a cause whose organizers take a big chunk for administrative costs and CEO salaries.  Would the list of willing contributors donate to causes that have higher profiles and offer luxurious lottery gifts or consider something down-to-earth - something long-lasting?  

By no means should we guilt them into giving.  It should be done willingly.  Though instead of starting another foundation and hiring old cronies or having your name plastered on yet another Cancer research centre, how about investing in safer food, sustainable farming and clean water supplies?  How about decent shelter and safe, healthy recreation for young people?  How about affordable education and meaningful work projects?  Could this quirky approach reduce the number of illnesses and level of crime that may creep up in twenty or thirty years?  But that's not as immediate and sadly, doesn't seem as glamorous to our adolescent mentality.

On a local and personal note, I would like to see landlords resist the opportunity to raise rents above the legal guideline for the second year in a row since they managed to get approval by the provincial body involved. I shake my blonde head when I hear about rich family members competing to see who can give more to a local charity when they could consider offsetting the rent that their tenants pay. 

Let's close this rant with a link to a recent news story on a cancer death rate study.  This likely could apply to any debilitating disease - physical and mental.  If a person stresses and worries that she can barely afford to pay rent and put food on the table for her family, what are the chances that one day, she will be able to afford the medication and treatment that could prevent her early demise? What if we could reduce the chances of the illness even happening?

Food for thought.

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