United Way turns to the rich

August 10, 2009
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The wealthy in the Indianapolis area arenâ??t carrying their weight in supporting United Way of Central Indiana, according to an analysis by the not-for-profit    comparing places including Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio.

The Indianapolis chapter has 22 â??principalâ?? donors, defined as giving at least $25,000. Thatâ??s a fraction of top-level donation activity in the other, similar-sized Midwestern cities, IBJ reporter Kathleen McLaughlin wrote in this weekâ??s issue.

Local officials think they can double the number of principal donors if they target them with the right kind of pitch â?? possibly as an investment in the community rather than as an obligation.

What are your thoughts on giving? Speaking more broadly than just United Way donations, a study two years ago showed households with at least $200,000 in income or $1 million in assets donated an average of 9 percent of their incomes to charity. A different study had households with $50,000 or less in household income giving an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes.

Do the wealthy do enough? Or are they already giving more than their share?
  • Maybe the United Way should figure out a way to give VALUE to those who they feel should GIVE them money. Because of who we are is hardly a reason. Or, maybe the United Way has just outlived its useful life now that the Internet allows smaller agencies which used to rely on United Way an effective way to reach out on their own. United Way's arm twisting tactics, from how they approach executives with the threat of public shame to how they make executives influence subordinate employees at all employees has always been inappropriate and distasteful.
  • This article disturbs me. Let me start by saying that I am not what one would consider wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. The United Way like most other charity type programs is a great concept. But that is just what it is...charity. By definition this is people willing to give of themselves to others via money or time. I wish I was wealthy. I work hard every day trying to achieve some sense of personal financial freedom, but this is a free country. If you work hard and you end up wealthy, that doesn't mean those of us who are not have the right to expect that they give all their money to others. This is a personal choice of what, how much and when to give. If you feel charity is important then give until your heart is content. It is not our right to decide for anyone else but ourselves. You may consider it selfish if someone chooses not to give as much as you think they should....and that is your right to think it...but it is others right to be selfish and give nothing if they so choose. Success should not be penalized in this country... but strived for. If more people worked hard trying to succeed, there would be less need for charity to begin with, and more people that could donate to it so more people could be helped. It's a cycle.

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  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.