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Transparency is essential to charitable giving

April 10, 2011

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DAN PALLOTTA’S case for changing the charitable giving model to be more businesslike is fundamentally flawed (“Former charity executive makes case for a new model,’’ Money & Careers, April 3). We do not donate to a charity based on the quid pro quo of received value, as we do with a business.

I don’t care how much the CEO of Ford makes; I only care if the car I buy delivers the value I expected for my money. But if I’m donating to find a cure for cancer, I am turning my money over to a conduit with the expectation that my money will go to pay for research, not to help Pallotta buy a fancy car.

Sure, some level of overhead (and advertising) is required, but to blindly trust that every charity’s CEO is doing his or her best to be efficient with my money would be foolhardy. It would be even more foolhardy to think that every nonprofit is operated ethically. As they say: Trust but verify. And that’s why we ask for expense ratios and information about overhead.

Bruce Horwitz
Newton