Being a solutions-based media company, it only seems right to be an encouraging voice of inspiration to you the reader. But as I began my fall quarterly article on charitable giving, I felt something stirring within my thoughts that I needed to come from a different perspective to challenge our ideology here at Create Change. I decided to flip the script and make an attempt to look at the idea of giving from a more reserved and analytical point of view. Staring the blank page before me, this question popped into my conscience:
Are we on the wrong side of right?
It took a few minutes for this question to completely sink in and make sense to me. I wasn’t really sure what this question was even referring to, but once I thought about it in terms of giving my thoughts started to swirl around the idea of questioning the whole purpose behind the world of charity.
Most likely you know someone and/or you, yourself, have been involved directly with a charity at one time or another. Initially, knowing that you’re supporting an organization through monthly contributions and/or volunteering your time to help those in need can make you feel good and be quite rewarding but, eventually we all find ourselves questioning just how much of our hard earned money and/or time spent being hands on, is actually making a difference?
Take the problem of world hunger for instance. According to www.worldhunger.org, this global pandemic currently plagues the lives of 795 million people out of the 7.3 billion people on the planet. That means, 1 out of 9 people live without enough food on a daily basis. What’s even more perplexing is according to their 2016 World Hunger And Poverty Facts And Statistics, we currently produce more than enough food worldwide for everyone to have their fair share. So how is it that this problem still exists? They go on to tout that it stems from a variety of issues with the top two most prominent being poverty and a lack of natural resources.
“Point blank, generosity is a part of what makes America such a great nation.”
In my mind, the next logical question was to ask, How much would it cost to eradicate the issue? After a quick google search, I came across The Borgen Project, which is a nonprofit organization focused on answering this very question. They claim that it would take approximately $30 billion a year to solve world hunger, which they also put into perspective by sharing that this seemingly large amount is actually only a fraction of the US defense budget which weighs in at a staggering $737 billion annually. Looking at those numbers, it would be easy to point a finger at the U.S. for allowing world hunger to linger, but something was telling me, if it’s that easy then why wouldn’t we have already done it? Sure, we could jump to the conclusion that the United States is greedy but, honestly, I would be willing to argue that notion until I was literally blue in the face. Why? Because, although we are considered one of the wealthiest nations in the world, according to the World Giving Index annual report published by the Charity Aid Foundation, we were also the most generous in 2013 & 2014, and ranked at a close 2nd in 2015. Point blank, generosity is a part of what makes America such a great nation.
Personally, I believe we have to look even further into a deeper, underlying issue if we are to eradicate world hunger and/or any other difficulties that plague our world today. That issue is one of sustainability.
Being a borderline fanatic of documentaries, I’m always on the prowl for the latest and greatest. Although not fresh off the presses, I recently discovered a more recent documentary entitled, Poverty Inc. that speaks exactly to this idea. It offers one of the most well rounded views of the entire landscape of giving. Even to the point of showing how we may think we are helping but actually doing more harm than good. The film does an amazing job of setting the record straight in helping us to not only look at the plethora of conspiracies surrounding the charitable world, but also revealing to us how we are being ineffective by doing what we believe is the right course of action. To summarize their stance, look no further than the slightly modified Old English proverb from Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie’s novel, Mrs. Dymond: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I whole heartedly believe this film is a must-see for anyone who is serious about making a difference in the world. It gives us an invaluable insight into how we should take a step back and rethink our approach to charitable giving for generations to come. For our team at CP, it has challenged us to press in, to solidify our efforts and authenticate our purpose of being a solutions based media company. If we are going to take part in being the solution, then we need to thoroughly understand the problems we are trying to solve from all vantage points.
In the coming months, we at CP have committed ourselves to delve further into the world of charity by making it our mission to unearth and highlight charitable organizations that are future focused and taking a more sustainable approach to solving the issues we face as a global society. Our purpose for doing so is to help garner the much needed support and attention needed to not only find a solution, but make sure that solution becomes the foundation on which we build for many generations to come. If you know of any organizations that you feel fit the mold of a sustainable charity, please reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below. Together we will make a difference.
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