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Charity begins at school?

June 7, 2010

What do you think about charitable fundraising at school?

I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it.  We’ve been asked to give to World Vision, the Saskatoon Food Bank, an orphanage in Haiti, Oxfam and others.  Donations are requested in December for the food bank with different classes being assigned different meals.  After the earthquake in Haiti, another fundraising drive was undertaken to send more money to the orphanage.  The latest fundraising effort was for the Children’s Hospital.  There seems to be something new every month.

The justification is that it’s good for children to recognize the advantages that they have and to be encouraged to give to those who have less.  I understand that but does it have to be over and over and over again?  And who gets to decide which fundraising to do?  I know that we can choose to not participate but peer pressure is certainly used to encourage all children to bring donations.  In some cases, individual donations are contributed in front of the class and each class has a representative present their contribution in front of the entire student body.

We already make donations as a family to organizations that we believe will actually have an impact.  I don’t want to be told by the school that we have to make additional donations.

Schools could include social studies units such as socioeconomic differences within and between communities, family structure (including orphans), and health issues.  The class could discuss effective ways to help others and then children might decide on their own to make charitable donations or to pool their efforts to raise money for a larger common donation.  Student initiated and directed charitable efforts would be more beneficial for our students than simply being told that they should bring money.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 7:13 am

    If the schools were teaching about charitable giving, shouldn’t it also be teaching that the giving of time is just as valuable to a charity or non-profit organization than monetary donations.

    Assuming, of course, that it’s school’s place to teach about charitable giving at all.

  2. Michele permalink*
    June 8, 2010 8:38 am

    That is a big assumption, isn’t it?

    I would argue that it’s not the schools place but I would totally lose that argument at our school. The best that I can do is temper it and try to direct it.

  3. Rob Huck permalink
    June 9, 2010 10:01 am

    You get the same push at “socially conscious” businesses too. A supermarket, say, asks if I want to contribute a buck or two to the cause of the week, and I decline at risk of looking like a cheap so-and-so to other customers. It’s none of their business to whom I give my charity.

    I’ve always wondered, though, when companies take that loose change we give them and deliver it to their charity, do they pocket the tax receipt that we paid for?

    Does Tim Horton’s, for instance, receive a tax credit for the X millions they collect in their boxes every year and give to their summer camps?

    But as for schools forcing your kids to give money to their favorite causes, I agree. It’s a socially acceptable form of extortion.

  4. Michele permalink*
    June 9, 2010 4:49 pm

    I remember reading that the stores do receive a tax receipt for the donation.

    I simply say “No” now to any requests at the checkout. It becomes easier and easier with practice.

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