21 Dec 2009

Conditional giving

At this time of the year, many people are thinking of giving, and it's appropriate to think about the different types of giving. This article mentions eight ways from the tradition of the Torah, ranging from "Level Eight: Giving grudgingly, with a sour countenance" to "Level One: Helping someone become self-sufficient."

It's obvious that the value of the gift is increasing in the giver's generosity.

What's interesting to me is when someone calls a gift a "gift" and then attaches conditions to that "gift." That's not really a gift, is it? It's more like an exchange, a trade of money for something of value.

That's what makes this threatening letter from David Wood (President of the Harris Ranch Beef Company) to Warren Baker (President of CalPoly, SLO) so interesting. Wood basically says "you invited Michael Pollan to talk on campus, and we don't like him. Further, we don't like others who like him. Unless you stop that stuff, I will take my financial support of CalPoly elsewhere."

That's my paraphrase, but you can decide for yourself.

Seems that Mr. Wood needs to call his "financial support" something else, like "payment for indoctrination."

Bottom Line Universities are places where ideas are debated, and donations to universities should not be contingent on echoing the "giver's" opinion.