In Praise of Private Charity
One of the great fallacies of our time is that if government doesn't do something, no one will. Its corollary is that if you are opposed to the government doing something, you are opposed to anyone performing that function at all. These disastrous fallacies color much of our national debate concerning heath care, education, poverty, housing, disaster relief and other issues.
This Easter season, I would like to applaud an organization that proves just how much private charity can accomplish without government mandates or intrusion. Convoy of Hope, based in Springfield, Missouri, is equal parts grocer, clothier, heath care provider, first responder, educator and logistics expert. It works with communities across America and around the world, bringing together other local charities, businesses, churches and government agencies to alleviate poverty and help people in the wake of disasters. The tremendous scope of its activities serves as a reminder that government is neither the sole, nor the best, provider of goods and services to people in need.
I recently had the privilege of touring Convoy of Hope's headquarters and distribution center. It was a humbling but encouraging experience. Frankly, I've never seen an organization so focused, efficient and poised to do so much good for so many people.
Convoy of Hope was founded by Hal and David Donaldson in 1994, who, as young boys, suffered the death of their father and subsequent poverty. Both men were struck by the outpouring of support their family received during that time from local churches and the community. As a result, the two brothers developed a deep sense of responsibility to helping others in need. Convoy of Hope has since helped more than 50 million individuals in more than 100 countries − giving away nearly $300 million worth of food and supplies in the process.
They typically spend only about 10% of their budget on overhead while employing a small staff of approximately 85 people. Watchdog group Charity Navigator consistently gives Convoy of Hope high marks for both its financial acumen and transparency.
Convoy of Hope also stretches its resources by developing strategic partnerships with private sector corporations, including Coca Cola, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, Georgia Pacific, Cargill, Del Monte and FedEx. These corporate donors donate everything from building supplies to bottled water to toiletries. Its massive distribution center and headquarters are centrally located in Missouri, where its fleet of trucks can dispatch quickly to any location in America. It also operates six international distribution centers for logistical efficiency.
The next step for Convoy of Hope is an audacious one: a 50-state tour beginning in May designed to address poverty across the United States. The "Convoy of Hope Tour" will provide an average of $1 million in goods and services to a community in a single day. Convoy of Hope's fleet of 18-wheel trucks will roll through every state, providing a wide variety of goods and practical services to those in need, including groceries, job counseling, clothing, dental care, breast cancer screenings, haircuts, family portraits, children's activities, as well as prayer and connections with local churches.
Convoy of Hope is doing tremendous work on behalf of mankind. I wish everyone at Convoy of Hope great success with their upcoming tour. It's hard to imagine a government agency operating as efficiently, as nimbly, or as cheerfully as Convoy of Hope. I truly believe it should serve as a model for private, voluntary, nongovernmental solutions to poverty and disaster relief in our communities.
Posted by seer on 04/10/12 10:26 PM
!0% for overhead can be significant. How much do the top management make? Several large charities pay outrageous salaries to their CEOs. Brother's Brother Foundation is rated the best charity in America and has about 1% in administrative costs. Their address is 1200 Galveston Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1604
Posted by DwightMann on 04/10/12 09:33 PM
It just goes to show you that the private sector is so much more better than the Governmental sector. . .
Posted by victorbarney on 04/10/12 04:25 PM
Ron Paul, if were a perfect world, you would have no trouble becoming our President to save u.s. from ourselves, but... Unfortunately, men are now insignificant, even more so then blacks while they were STILL IN SLAVERY. No, it's not going to end well. Watch.
Posted by dimitri on 04/10/12 01:46 PM
My eyes rolled when I read the part about the "strategic partnerships." So the good Dr. Paul is endorsing an organization that promises to supply the needy with the high fructose corn syrup based products and bottled water? Hasn't somebody clued him in on the detrimental health effects of GMO's, of which Cargill is a purveyor? Convoy of Hope sounds too good to be true. It has the stench of the "volunteerism" meme. Too bad Ron Paul felt compelled to come out supporting it. It's one thing to encourage generosity, quite another to use it politically.
I'm a Ron Paul supporter, but he's beginning to scare me off. Is it only a rumor that he plans to release all his delegates to Romney if his bid fails?
Posted by nithsdale on 04/10/12 01:01 PM
Dr. Paul is doing a great public service in reminding his followers that charity does not begin with government. Charity always has been the province of individuals joining together in a like minded aid to other individuals, a giving of themselves and what they have.
The early religions not only sponsored thoughts re Man's relation to a Higher Spirit,but also tempered Man's reaction to Man, reminding all that there but for the Grace of Spirit go you! In a sense, this was the first "governing" of charity but even then it was left to individuals to carry it out.
The Catholic Church, from its inception, has utilyzed this desire to unite Man with Spirit by assisting individuals with their charitable instincts. That is why the Church has so many "orders", most having to do with assistance for health to people at large. The first hospitals were organized, mostly staffed with women in new orders, always financed by business as sponsors for their family members involved in the charitable effort. Later, Islam also adopted this procedure, allowing women to go "public" with aid efforts to Man!
Government before our Era, left charity mostly to those who yearned to give it but as price tags were put on everything, it became obvious that here was wealth that could be "transferred" into a public service and would allow the control of more "public servants" to do the government's bidding. Those who were not part of the religious groups involved, mounted a great hoopla about religion and its exclusions and a new political movement was born. Government, which announced it had no exclusions, would be a better vehicle for all manner of charity and so the modern "entitlement" society was born.
This is where we are now. All of life has been politicized, made the province of governing by those who convince others they can do it better because they will do it for all, even those who do not need charity! The end result is a crass society running in place, on a government treadmill, no longer interested in the people around them, in fact now resentful of anyone with a charity concept, unless it is run by government. Charity today includes "think tanks" more than actual aid to those who may need a helping hand!
Dr. Paul is right to remind us about the indivdual's place in our lives. That is the first step in a new redirection of society and its resources! An even more perfect analogy is to recall how GIs, in WWII and ever since, responded to the Salvation Army and detested the Red Cross, the forerunner of Government taking over from Man!
Posted by norm741 on 04/10/12 01:01 PM
Before Medicare and Medicaid, Charity wards were used for the needy. All still received medical care but cost were kept low.I'm sure interns spent some time at these hospitals and malpractice claims were at a minimum. Because of these hospitals private insurance was also kept low. The real benefits of Medicare and medicaid are the hospitals, doctors and drug companies as well as the crooks who are stealing billions with fraudulent claims
Posted by lk on 04/10/12 12:28 PM
go to their website at : Click to view link I believe they will be in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, May 12th @ 10:00 a.m. in central time.
Posted by bewer on 04/10/12 11:47 AM
Private charities/non-profits can also become as corrupt as govt----and they are much easier to dismantle and be replaced by a new private one.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 04/10/12 10:15 AM
Too many good people do not realize how aggressively governments have pushed the private sector out of charity work, to the point where people generally confuse government with the totality of human society, expecting government to be all things to all people. Churches should be in the forefront of pushing back against government monopoly of charity work, beginning (certainly not ending) with the heinous Social Security System (even its initials sounds like a devilish hiss!).
Posted by Merridth80 on 04/10/12 07:57 AM
Can you tell me when it will be in Texas, and where in Texas it will stop?