Wednesday, March 13, 2013



The word charity has a condescending sound to it but many, if not most people, like to be helpful to others, at least in some circumstances, if they can at all afford it.  It feels good to help someone else, someone deserving.   Many religions in the world impute to followers the obligation to be charitable, to help those in need.   The concept of the tithe--giving ten percent of your income to the Church--was to not only benefit the Church but those that the Church ministered to.  Ancient cultures including Greeks, Romans and Hebrews, followed the custom of public or government assistance to those who were destitute.

Some people don't like to be on the receiving end.  Charity is a dirty word to them.  Others  will  accept help, perhaps regretfully, when they know they need it at a particular time in their life.   Still others have no problem accepting, even demanding, help on an ongoing basis and feel no need to ever try to be independent.    I suspect most donors prefer to give to the middle category.   They like to be appreciated; after all, they could have spent the money on themselves.   But no one likes to feel their help is taken for granted or is unnecessary. 

The government supports charity--at least a little.   You might think that giving away your money to a charity should count for a tax deduction and reduce your income.   After all, you gave it away.   The government might otherwise have to provide the service.  But, alas, the reality is that charitable donations only give you something like a twenty percent tax credit, which is different from a tax deduction, and a lot less than the total you gave.  Unless, of course, you are making a contribution to a federal political party.   They are the most deserving charity of all it seems.   You will be allowed to deduct 75 percent or three-quarters of your donation to this group from your income.  

Perhaps our choice of charity says something about what is important to each of us.   For myself, at the present I've found that I have gravitated towards charities that benefit dogs, elephants and for humans -- micro-loans to developing countries.   I've found that it does feel good to do good!

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