Day of Giving: The Case Against Charity?

I have a bone to pick with charity.

It all started with delightful Pittsburgh blogger Ginny Montanez over at That’s Church. That woman is a down-right do-gooder. I mean this in the most flattering way possible, of course. She supports a number of causes and urges her readers to do the same, offering hilariously awesome incentives when goals are reached. One project, Make Room for Kids, provides sick children with gaming systems, iPads, and other entertainment devices. Ginny has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the cause.

As I read her updates, I started second-guessing its purpose. I mean, I get it. I understand why it’s nice for hospitalized kids to have access to an XBOX or a handheld gaming system. But I couldn’t help but wonder about kids who are much worse off — kids who don’t have insurance or whose families are struggling to stay afloat to pay for treatment.

I chatted with friends about how ridiculous it is to be buying iPads for some children when others can’t even afford medication or visits to the doctor. I thought, “What a skewed perspective! These people are so fixated on solving a first world problem that they have now become one!”

But then… well… I slowly turned the lens on myself.

The Human Rights Campaign, an organization striving toward equal rights for all LGBT Americans, is a very personal cause to me. And if someone were to tell me there are people in the world who are worse off and I should be helping them first, well… I’d wonder just who the hell they think they are. I donate to causes that mean something to me! HOW DARE THEY ASSERT THEIR OPINIONS ON ME WHEN — 


That’s all Ginny is doing. She supports causes that speak to her. And so should you and everyone else in the world, because hell, we can’t solve even ONE of the world’s problems in a day, so we might as well tackle them together, all at once. I mean, when you get down to it, we’re all on the same team. We just can’t all play the same position at once.

In addition to national charities, I want to give back more locally. And let’s face it, Pittsburgh. Is. Awesome. It turns out there’s no better time to kick off that support than tomorrow, October 3, which is Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving. On this special day, Allegheny County matches up to $750,000 for eligible organizations.

I chose the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh. This might surprise those who know me well and have heard me talk AD NAUSEAM about how I don’t want kids. But the other side of that belief is that I feel very strongly about considering adoption over raising biological children. And I can at least throw some money at that problem, right?

I highly recommend that you find a cause that you believe in and use the Day of Giving as an opportunity to make your gift count even more. In the spirit of do-gooding, I promise not to judge your charity of choice.


12 thoughts on “Day of Giving: The Case Against Charity?

  1. Very well put. There was a time when I had some charitable giving paralysis because of the feeling that I needed to give my limited funds and efforts to the best possible charity but OMG which one is that? As a result I did nothing. Now, I know that it is important to do what you can for whatever inspires you. I’m not choosing cancer over AIDS or marriage equality over pet adoptions. I’m choosing to help fight cancer! I’m choosing to create a world where people can marry the person they love! Let’s all focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t.

    • It’s SO TRUE, that feeling is overwhelming. In fact, it’s why I originally started giving to the United Way years ago. My employer has a program that makes it easy, so it took the guesswork out of donating. I can just fill out this form online over my lunch hour and never have to think about it again? DONE.

      Your perspective is great, though. I’m not choosing to help one thing over another — I’M JUST CHOOSING TO HELP, PERIOD. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Also, The Day of Giving is so exciting to me as someone who sort of studies philanthropy behavior. It’s a wonderful example of how foundations can execute larger social change.

  3. i was trying to think of something snarky to say about charity, but really why?i have opinions on Charity qua Charity (versus actual charities, like charitable organizations), but i’m not gonna get into that. the honest-to-goodness truth of it is: i never have any money. when haiti and the tsunami and all that shit went down and people were like “text to this number to donate 5 dollars”, i didn’t even have 5 dollars. and i know you don’t have to wait for giant disasters and such to give to charity, i guess i just don’t think of it. maybe next time i have a couple bucks and i’m in the position to donate i will. as Death from the Sandman comics once said “it’s just as easy to be nice as it is to be creepy, and it’s also just more fun”.

    • If you don’t have anything to give, so be it. But as I mentioned, one of the reasons I picked this particular charity is their work with adoptions. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is there. I know you know what I mean after all the conversations we’ve had. And we know a lot of people whose lives have been positively impacted by adoption, whether it’s putting their own child up for adoption or having been adopted themselves. So yeah, I’m doing a big part for the world by not bringing another person into it, but I can take that a step further and help advocate for adoption, too.

      I donate to the United Way at work, which they made HELLA easy by making it so they withhold it from your paycheck. And when that’s the case, you never even miss ten bucks or whatever. Word.

  4. I like how you think we’d be surprised you give to The Children’s Home, like, “well, if I know my friend Addi, and I think I do, I KNOW she wishes all 3 year olds running around would be homeless and get diseases, become abandoned… SUFFER after they are born, those baby assholes.” …okay that sounded like you a little 😉

    (NO, your issues with having children, or not, are not from loathing humans and humanity.)

    ANYWAY. Great entry. I pretty much ‘do’ this entry all the time. It’s easy to judge in general, but especially when you are righteously indignant. That, in fact, makes it very easy to judge and judge loudly. “My charity is a good cause and I care about it deeply, so I am all fired up, and thus, I judge my cause to better cause than yours.”

    I try to catch myself doing this. With anything. Like, it’s easy for me to not judge gay people, because I often find them, in general, to be more awesome than straight people. But what about the couple that has 3 ways 6 times a week?

    It’s easy for me to judge people hatin’ on fat girls. But what people hatin’ on skinny girls. “Ugh, she’s so GROSS looking.” Even like, people who attack Christians for being small-minded bigots, without knowing them personally, well, I’ve come to that now being something I take issue with.

    It’s an interesting topic, in general, for me to think (and talk about) for hours I’m sure. OKAAAAAY.

    • But babies *ARE* assholes! Ok, not all of them. Not all of the time, anyway…

      I agree that this is the same philosophy as judging others. And the whole defense-of-fat-shaming-turning-into-skinny-shaming thing is so sad. Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t ALL body types be beautiful? Thanks for commenting, KBYEEEEEEEE.

      • i’m with you, i can’t stand size-ism up, up or down. i had a co-worker who was a larger lady who was very like “i’m big and beautiful!” and that’s cool (p.s. – she was not; and i’m not saying that because she was big. she was a stone cold bitch, ultraconservative, and slightly racist. all in all, rude). but then she (and others along with her) would see a skinny girl and be like “eat a sandwich”. people have different metabolisms and the what-not. i’m not an idiot: i know bigger people are going to be more easily persecuted. society and shit. i’m just saying. BUT i feel like that may be derailing the point of the original post, so, GO CHARITY.

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