A Singular Purpose

It seems to be the thing to do these days when your life is altered by some sort of speed bump, start up a foundation.  If you have the means, or access to the means that is.  People at the lower end of the economic ladder might have fund raisers to help cover the unexpected bills that go along with these speed bumps.  If enough money is raised to cover their own bills, the remainder might go to help others with the affliction.


I’ve been thinking about causes and diseases that attract multiple foundations, which then often compete for the same donation dollars.  It’s that competition that got me thinking.  I understand that people want to honor their lost loved one (the most frequent reason to start a foundation in my unofficial research) but perhaps there are other ways.  A foundation has costs that take money off the top, whereas a donation to an existing organization in the person’s name could go directly to something useful for others still struggling through similar experiences.


Perhaps a singular purpose should be combined with a shared purpose to better serve the cause?  The question is what is most important – a cure, a solution or establishing a permanence for the lost person?  The best thing would be to find a method to do both.


When my dad died, we asked for donations in lieu of flowers to established causes that were meaningful to him.  He had a nearly lifelong association with Boy Scouting and so we also created a camp scholarship in his name at our local council.  I’m sure that money is long gone, mom was the point person with the council.  We wanted his name to live on with an organization that he loved and supported in many ways.  Hopefully there is a handful of young men out there somewhere who can say that they got to go to camp thanks to my dad.


Keeping the fund alive and continuous probably could have been accomplished, but it didn’t happen.  And this was a relatively small effort in comparison to a foundation.


When mom died, we again asked for donations in her name in lieu of flowers, this time for ovarian cancer research through an established organization.  I continue to give as part of the greater shared purpose to give families affected by this disease more solutions.  And more time than we had with mom once she was diagnosed.  Even if we had the means, I don’t think that we would have considered a foundation in her name.  Associating with an effective and established organization allows our assistance to be multiplied.


I wonder at this moment what mom would have to say to my idea, she worked as a fund raiser for a large hospital in Chicago for years.  She had some interesting stories about the large donors that they courted.  Ego was often involved.


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