Donating to charity is a fundamental part of many people’s life. In deciding how much to give, it is important to understand where to give one’s blessings because all charities are not created equally, and many are very specific in what they support.
For example, some charities support assisting those with cancer, or finding a cure for serious diseases, such as AIDS. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has actively sought to end crippling diseases like malaria in 3rd world nations while donating computers to schools across the country.
Understanding the different kinds of charities that are out there is a very important step to maximizing one’s giving.
Private funds are those that do not typically reach out to the public to seek donations. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, noted above, is an example of this. The funds often come from a trust or a select group of people.
The average charity people give to fall under the category of being a 501(c)(3). These charities do solicit the general public for donations and the amount given to others are always tax deductible. A 501(c)(3) may give money to support cancer patients who cannot work while undergoing chemotherapy, or they might give coats to children who are in need.
A cancer charity typically falls under two categories. The most common is the kind that funds scientific research, such as the extensive work that went into the work that discovered HeLa cells, which were derived from Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman who passed away from cancer, but whose cells have led to hundreds of vaccines.
Middle Weight world champion Sugar Ray Robinson was known throughout his career to give entire purses to cancer research hospitals.
The second kind of charity for cancer offers financial support to those who are suffering from the disease. They may pay for treatments or provide discounted care. Some even financially support families and individuals so that they can sustain a sense of comfort in the wake of the hardship that a battle with cancer is.
Among the many kinds of local charities that serve communities, soup kitchens serve as a place for both the needy and the well-to-do. The latter can find a safe place to have a good meal on holidays as well as during other less celebrated days while the latter have the opportunity to serve those who are not as fortunate as themselves.
Soup kitchens serve communities in ways that are often overlooked, the most prescient among them is the ability to give young people the character that is built upon a foundation of serving others.
Community centers provide fun and safe places for young people to hang out and make friends. A well-equipped community center has game and movie nights for families, subsidized or free before and after school care, and even youth sports leagues.
While all of these activities are provided for free, it is important not to forget that the cost is covered by the charity of others. Strong communities (and community centers) have strong role models who donate their time as well as their money, knowing that the returns come via non-material means.