Sohn: 'Tis the season to give with love - and confidence

Sohn: 'Tis the season to give with love - and confidence

December 21st, 2018 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

— 1 Corinthians 13

Please don't let the latest revelations about the Trump family's so-called charity turn you off to charitable giving — especially in this season of need.

The world of charity giving is not aptly represented by the Donald J. Trump Foundation whose board — the three eldest Trump children — last week agreed under legal pressure to dissolve and give away the foundation's remaining $1.75 million in funds to real charities, all under the watchful eye of judicial supervision.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said Tuesday that her office's investigators found "a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation" — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign and with repeated and willful self-dealing in an operation that served "as little more than a checkbook" for Trump's own business and political interests. Further, the so-called charity was bankrolled not by Trump, but by his friends and business associates. In short, it was more of a charity for Trump than by Trump.

But unlike that of Trumpworld, we have many, many charities — locally, nationally and worldwide — that offer us honest and truly helpful ways to take care of our less fortunate neighbors, worldly brethren, lost and hungry animals and even our planet.

We can begin locally.

* Welcome Home of Chattanooga is a home for those with a terminal illness who have nowhere to go for end-of-life care. The nonprofit began with six friends, a dream and the corporate help of organizations like CHI Memorial and BlueCross BlueShield, as well as individuals, faith communities and foundations.

Today, Welcome Home is in a leased five-bedroom, two-story house that has served well, but is inadequate for the kind of care its short-term and dying residents require. The organization is conducting a modest $200,000 capital campaign aimed at raising money to build its own new five-bedroom, one-story home designed for the group's specific needs. Board chairman John Kerns said the fund-raising campaign is a little over halfway toward meeting its goal, and Welcome Home supporter Norman Faris has pledged a significant matching challenge: Faris has offered to match all gifts through the end of the year — up to $25,000. Help at welcomehomeofchattanooga.org.

* The Forgotten Child Fund "Santa Train" has been a fixture in Chattanooga since the early 1960s when one police officer determined he would make a difference. Now sponsored by the Chattanooga Fire and Police Departments, the nonprofit assists needy families and their children at Christmas. Find them at forgottenchildfund.org.

* Our own Neediest Cases fund is a 104-year-old charity started by The Chattanooga Times in 1914 and continued by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to help ordinary people locally who fall on hard times once in a while at any time in the year. It is administered by the United Way. You can help here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/neediestcases/2018/

* With Hamilton County's $10 million commitment to build a new $13 million Chattanooga Humane Educational Society facility, animal lovers are left to raise $3 million in capital funds. That will be over and above the usual $1 million a year HES raises in private donations for it $1.9-million-a-year budget. Find a way to help at heschatt.org.

Here are other ways to give regionally and nationally with confidence, according to Guidestar and Charity Navigator — the nation's two top charity watchdogs:

* If you want to support the environment, these Southeastern charities have "perfect 100" scores for "financial health" and "accountability & transparency:" Appalachian Voices, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Southern Environmental Law Center.

* The same is true in the human and civil rights category for: Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and Equal Justice Initiative.

There are plenty more suggestions — and several top 10 lists (including some to avoid) at charitynavigator.org.

Find your passion — and give.

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