Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Charitable Giving and Your Tax Rebate

I received an email from TrueMajority today that caught my eye. The subject line was, "Can part of your rebate save the economy?" Reading further it asked me to donate 10% of the six hundred dollar tax rebate check that is my part of the economic stimulus package to TrueMajority.
This touches on a debate I have been trying to foment among my peers about alumni giving. Specifically, if you have a limited budget for charitable giving why would you give it to, say, for example, a school with a billion dollar endowment, instead of, say, people in actual need?
It also touches on a basic problem I have with these economic band-aid refund checks. I want the troops to have proper equipment. I want poor people around the country to have access to healthy food. I want public schools to educate children about more than "be sure to fill in a bubble on every line because you're not penalized for guessing." So should I oppose the $600 rebate checks? Or should I donate my share to charity? If so, which charities? Who do you send the check to for, "properly equip our troops"? Who do you send the check to for, "teach children in public schools"? Who do you send the check to for, "save WIC and food stamps and make the application process easier"?
While you contemplate the answers to these questions, be sure to play FreeRice.

Edited 5/12/2008 to add:
Check out Brad DeLong's post, tangentially on the subject of irrational alumni giving to schools with excessively large endowments.

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