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A Case for Elliminating Private Foundations

Updated on October 3, 2016
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

A Foundation is a noble cause. Foundations are intended for private persons who have resources to be able to help others. Foundations have a tax exempt status so as to encourage more people to get involved. However, my problem with foundations is that they can be abused. Some people use private foundations as slush funds to conduct their own private affairs. This is wrong and we need reforms to corrrect this.

- Aug. 2016

Gates Foundation and Common Core

Background

The Gates Foundation is the largest of them all. By all measurements, they seem to be genuinely interested in helping with education and healthcare around the world. Yet, do their efforts match the huge amount of reserves they hold? Are we getting the bang from the bucks?

The big question is what is the most effective charity and is it a good investment for the American people? These organizations are getting tax benefits through their 501c status.

The Clinton Foundation is one in the news lately. It is hard to find out exactly what they are doing with these huge donations especially from foreign governments. Their accounting system is so complex that Charity Navigator, a main watchdog of charity organizations, have determined that they cannot rate the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton Foundation - Can do better?

Charity

What is charity? Charity should be an act of love. People who were given more are supposed to give back and help those less fortunate. That is the Christian way.

The way I see it, if a person is passionate about a group or a cause or finding cure for a disease, they would do something with or without any government incentives or tax advantages. By providing such benefits, we are really corrupting the process. Let's ask Bill Gates If his foundation would loose its 501c status, what would he do different with his Billions of dollars? I suspect not much. He and his wife are committed to help with children, health, and education around the world. These are noble goals. Why don't we let them do what they choose and let our government get out of picking the Charities that are worthy. Let the results speak for their success.

Volunteerism is also a big part of charity or should be. Take a look at the salaries of some major and even minor charities and the 6 figures they pay their top executives. Why is this OK? Shouldn't they take just 1 dollar as a token salary and save the funds for their important programs. Don't forget, part of that salary comes from the tax payers.

Motivation is something that drives our actions. What should be the primary motivation for any charity? Is it the primary function of any charity to fundraise? In many cases, these fundraising activities occupy most of their time and worse, the majority of the funds raised go to the activity of fund raising, not to the people they are supposed to help.

Charity Navigator on the Clinton Foundation

Summary

In this hub, I try to make the case that private foundations and charities should not be funded by our tax dollars. They should stand on their own merits. If a cause is worthy, people will find the funds to support it, with or without government subsidies. Let's get rid of the 501c status for private foundations.

© 2016 Jack Lee

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