The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Virgil Vaupel
Thanks For Listening 

Think Before You Donate


Folks, it’s that time of year again when charities from all over the world will be pulling on your heart strings to send them money. Some of these charities are legitimate and worthy of your donation. Some are not.

For the past few years I have received an e-mail about this time of year with the subject “Think Before You Donate.” It’s one of those e-mails that rise up out of cyberspace now and again. No one knows who wrote the original. I’m sure you have been the recipient of some of these urban legend e-mails.

This particular one lists five charities that the writer doesn’t think too much of. In fact he/she says “don’t donate to any of them.” You’ll recognize them as The American Red Cross, March of Dimes (used to be Mother’s March of Dimes), The United Way, UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), and Goodwill.

The email states that the American Red Cross paid its CEO, Marsha J. Evans, $651,957 per year, plus expenses. Gail McGovern became CEO and in 2010 received over a million dollars in wages and other compensation. In 2011 she was paid $561,000. The Red Cross received a 92 percent efficiency rating meaning that 92 cents of every dollar donated was spent for the cause.

The email states that the March of Dimes only gives out a dime for every dollar donated. This statement is false. However, the March of Dimes is the least effective in that they return just 64 percent of their donations to those in need.

As for UNICEF, the email states that “CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year in salary plus all expenses and a Rolls Royce.” Her actual compensation is $472,891 per year and UNICEF emphatically denies that any staff member get the use of a Rolls Royce. Forbes and Charity Navigation both put UNICEF’s efficiency rating at 94 percent. The e-mail says only 5 cents on the dollar goes to the cause.

It is stated that “United Way World Wide President Brian Gallagher received $375,000 in base salary and numerous expense benefits.” Mostly true but his base salary is actually higher coming in at $415,613 plus a hefty $300,000 or so in added benefits. Forbes rates this charity at 89 percent effective and Charity Navigator gives it an 84 percent rating.

Here’s the big one ... Goodwill Industries. The email says CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million per year. It goes on to say, “You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.” It adds “he pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage. Nice guy!” It also says “$0.00 goes to help anyone. Stop giving to this man.”

One would almost think that my friend Horace wrote that scalding review!!

Truth of the matter is this: Mark Curran does not own Goodwill International Industries. Its CEO is Jim Gibbons, whose salary is listed as $725,000 in 2011. Goodwill also has employment programs, housing help, industry training programs and many other community service projects. Forbes says they rate a 91 percent effective rating and Charity Navigator says 92 percent.

This email started circulating in 2005 around Christmas. The e-mail is filled with lies and half-truths. It is a thinly veiled attempt to steer potential donations from these five charitable organizations into the coffers of several different charitable organizations which I will go into in depth next week. Stay tuned.

That’s it for now folks. Thanks for Listening.


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