Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 9, 2006

Amazing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 9:07 am

Is this insane or what? Just this morning I saw a stunning report on the selfishness and cluelessness of a major American charity (on the Fox News Channel) although that was not the ostensible thrust of the report.

It seems that five firefighters died courageously trying to save lives in a burning building in a central California community. The community reached out and raised a million or more dollars to donate to the families of the firefighters. They made the mistake of doing so through the local United Way. Mistake because the United Way, which should know the tax laws about charities inside and out, took their money and then “discovered” that they couldn’t distribute it to the firefighters’ families because of IRS regulations that charities like the United Way must distribute their funds to groups or institutions not to individiuals.

Fox had on a United Way spokesman who was lamenting that the families wouldn’t get the money before Christmas, indeed might not get the money at all unless special legislation was passed permitting it. He talked about California Senators introducing this legislation when Congress convenes again next year.

Buit wait a minute, why would the United Way take the money meant for the families if they knew they might not be able to give it to the families, because of IRS regulations? And if the United Way officials weren’t aware of IRS regulations that might prevent the money from going to the familes shouldn’t every single official involved be kicked to the curb for ignorance and incompetence?

The Fox on-air person ventured, sensibly, to suggest to the United Way person that one might think they’d have known of this difficulty. Mr. United Way replied weakly that he thought it might be because they’d raised more money than they thought (upwards of a million) Not convincing! Did they appeal to donors to give but don’t give too much, because if you give too much no one will get anything?

But the whole segment presented the United Way as victim rather than perpetrator of the problem. Sadly but stoically the United Way spokesman thought there might be hope to get a little money to some of the families before Christmas, but some might get none.

Maybe I’m missing something but this seems insane. The United Way must have a record of the checks they received for the families. GIVE THE MONEY BACK NOW, UNITED WAY! SEND IT BACK TO THE GIVERS AND LET THE GIVERS SEND THEIR CHECKS DIRECTLY TO THE FAMILIES. STOP TALKING ABOUT WAITING FOR SPECIAL LEGISLATION. STOP SITTING ON OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Humble suggestion: Until this happens no one in America should give a cent to the United Way. Give to other charities, give to individuals.
Make United Way give the money back! Find a way to get it the firefighters’ families now, immediately.or forever be knonw as United Morons.

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2 Comments »

  1. Why couldn’t a wealthy org like the UW give $1M of their own to the families and keep the donated $ in escrow. If they “lose” any future legislative case they could hold a fundraiser for themselves.

    Comment by Shmuel — December 11, 2006 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  2. I agree with Shmuel – the UW should distribute the money as they promised, and absorb the cost of whatever the IRS levies.

    Comment by SteveO — December 11, 2006 @ 11:27 am | Reply


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