05 Dec 2012
December 5, 2012

Non-Profits Beware!

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Below is a letter that was sent to selected non-profits, serving notice that their hypocritical treatment of their major donors will only result in harm to their mission and goals.

 

Dear XXXX,

 

I am writing to respond to your request for charitable support. My short answer is no. Perhaps you will decide to stop reading this note now. If you are willing to read on, please let me provide some additional context.

 

I was not born to wealth nor do I have a trust fund against which to write checks. But I have succeeded professionally and financially through a happy blend of hard work and good decisions. Several years ago, my wife and I decided to establish a family foundation through which we reinvest our life’s good fortune into charitable projects. These contributions tend to align closely with my personal philosophy of empowerment through individual initiative. We like to find entrepreneurial organizations and causes that demonstrate a, “multiplier effect,” using their funds to build self-sustaining betterment as opposed to merely funding problems without addressing the root causes. The largest beneficiaries of our giving have been educational and self-reliance organizations.

 

The amount of money we contribute is in direct proportion to my own financial success; the more money I earn, the more money we invest in charity. Over the years our charitable contributions have totaled into the many millions of dollars. I believe that this relationship is, frankly, not understood well by folks in your business. Certainly we all recognize the great business fortunes that also constitute the largest pools of philanthropy; Gates, Carnegie, Walton. But do folks who, “ask for money,” for a living recognize that they need to be authentic boosters of economic prosperity as a crucial ingredient in their own livelihood? Only a prosperous country that creates large fortunes as well as many smaller ones can sustain a culture of philanthropy for very long.

 

It is shocking for me to witness the increasingly public political advocacy of folks who work in the non-profit sector. They cheer on an unrestrained growth of government programs as a lever for social justice and economic fairness, without realizing that they are sowing the seeds of their own demise. Where is the fairness and justice in making recipients dependent on public programs that are increasingly fragile and unsustainable? As government grows proportional to the economy, there is also a higher burden placed on the private sector, the very engine that fills the spending coffers of government and philanthropy. The explosion of federal spending and debt resulting from our current lack of spending restraint reflects not only a moral failing. It also represents a destructive disincentive for new private sector investments, as we hurtle toward a European-style crisis. Where is the charity in spoiling your own farmland so that nothing can grow?

 

In light of the very real risk of government-imposed wealth destruction ahead, I have severely restricted our charitable giving. I will be watching to see which organizations become more sensible, balanced, and intellectually honest in their public and private advocacy. Your choices will determine your destiny.

 

Sincerely,

 

Scott Sipprelle

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