Hold That Dime

With all the charities raising money for Haitian relief, one name has caught my ear: The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation. And it set off alarm bells for me.

When Hurricane Katrina struck, President George W. Bush reached out to his two immediate predecessors and tasked them with heading up fundraising for relief. And last week, President Obama followed that example and talked Bill Clinton and George W. Bush into doing the same for Haiti.

No real problem, right?

The only concern I have is that about a month ago, I did a little research into charities for a completely unrelated story. And one tidbit of that research I discovered is that the Clinton Foundation is one of the most inefficient charities around — about 2/3 of all the moneys it receives goes into overhead, not charity.

Maybe they’re doing things differently with the Haiti effort. Maybe they’ve set it up so most — if not all — of the funds they get earmarked for Haiti go towards actually helping Haiti.

But I’d not recommend taking that chance.

And that’s not a purely political opinion. Yeah, I’m not that fond of Bill Clinton, and that’s probably why I both noted his foundation’s inefficiency and why it stuck in my mind, but the facts speak for themselves.

There are plenty of other groups who are both helping the Haitians and have a far better record of making certain donations go towards the worthy causes. I have a bit of fondness for the American Red Cross (I’m a seven-gallon blood donor), but I wouldn’t recommend using the text-message donation method — from what I understand, the actual donation is tacked on to your cell phone bill, and not made until you pay that bill.

Snopes has a good roundup of the situation.

Just please, folks — do your homework before you commit your hard-earned money towards a truly worthy cause.

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