Okay, I don’t want to seem like I am picking on relatively decent progressive organizations, but I’ve gotten so many emails requesting donations and contributions lately that I think I finally snapped….
Renew your PFAW membership and help us get a head start on the 2012 elections
We cannot afford the far-right Tea Party Republicans to take control of our federal government and judiciary…there is so much at stake this election year.
People For the American Way plans on fighting back hard, but we need your help to win. (via People For the American Way.)
And they want that help in the form of a contribution of $35-250 dollars, or more, perhaps monthly. Well, I don’t want to contribute.
For one thing, groups like PFAW are not at the top of my list for charitable donations. I tend to favor direct service providers in my area, groups working on homelessness, hunger and health care (such as the Berkeley Free Clinic), and bigger NGOs like Doctors without Borders over DC think tanks and lobbying groups, though the latter certainly have their place.
I was also a bit off put by their Board of Directors. The organization was founded in 1981 by Norman Lear, the television writer and producer responsible for such shows as All in the Family and Sanford and Son (both of which are great) and the board is stacked with friends and associates, such as Lara Bergthold, the Board Chair, a Hollywood political consultant who was deputy director of John Kerry’s presidential campaign and is also on the board of Lear’s foundation, and the actor Alec Baldwin, a friend and protege of Lear. Another member of the Board is Seth Macfarlane, the guy behind Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show. Lear has a personal net worth of $700 million. Baldwin is worth $65 million and makes $300,000 an episode for 30 Rock. Macfarlane recently paid $13.5 million for a Beverly Hills Mansion.
Now, they may be entitled to their money, and I don’t want to suggest that they should bankroll PFAW single-handed. But before they send me another letter asking for money, I’d like to know what these board members contribute in terms of real dollars to charity, as a percentage of their income, and with any tax benefits they accrue taken into account. (I’d love to have enough to donate for it to give me a tax benefit!) Since this organization is Norman Lear’s baby, I want to know that he and his friends and colleagues/employees are really putting their money where their mouth is before they ask for my hard-earned shekels.
Many of the other Board members are really right on: Dolores Huerta, Julian Bond, Mary Frances Berry. It’s not a bogus organization at all. It does good work. But it’s got friends with deep – really deep – pockets. I’ll put my limited sums to use elsewhere.
- People For the American Way – Board of Directors
- Norman Lear – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
- Charity Navigator – Your Guide to Intelligent Giving