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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