Friday, December 26, 2008

Should charities go for-profit?

I think this article on the changing world of charities misses the key point about why people are up in arms over for-profit charities - charities are exempt from paying certain taxes and they get sops from the government for working with the underprivileged. With this being said, I agree with the general tenor of the article, and believe that good can be done for people by those that don't necessarily work under the charity umbrella.
“Howard Schultz has done more for coffee-growing regions of Africa than anybody I can think of,” Michael Fairbanks, a development expert, said of the chief executive of Starbucks. By helping countries improve their coffee-growing practices and brand their coffees, Starbucks has probably helped impoverished African coffee farmers more than any aid group has.

Mr. Fairbanks himself demonstrates that a businessman can do good even as he does well. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, hired Mr. Fairbanks’s consulting company and paid it millions of dollars between 2000 and 2007.
The accidental charity-ier; reminds me of the Jesuits who taught us that the best kind of charity is that which no one knows of, not even your left hand. A compelling read...

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