Sweet charity

New Zealanders rightly refuse to be awed by wealth.

But just as we condemn the excesses of capitalism, so we should give credit to those who selflessly put their money to good use. They are opposite sides of the same coin.

In any case, philanthropy is not the preserve of the very rich.

On the contrary, research indicates that poorer people contribute proportionately more of their income to charity than the wealthy. And even those without money can be generous in other ways – for example, by giving their time as volunteers.

According to the 2013 World Giving Index, 40% of New Zealanders donate time to good

For ordinary New Zealanders, there have never been more ways to contribute.

Community foundations exploit economies of scale by pooling individual donations, which, on their own, might be too small to make a difference.

Websites such as Givealittle harness the power of crowdfunding.

And at the top of the philanthropic food chain, large trusts and foundations are establishing strategic partnerships and collaborating on large-scale, long-term projects, notably in education and conservation.

Underlying all this is a growing recognition that issues such as unemployment, pest control and social disadvantage are beyond the resources of the state on its own.

Philanthropy at its most effective can strike at root causes where the welfare state can often do little more than provide Band-Aids.

Rather than being seen as relieving the Government of its obligations, it should be viewed as an important adjunct to the state and an indispensable part of what we know as civil society. Continue reading.

This piece comes from the editorial of the current Listener.

Source: The Listener

Image: ADLS

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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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