This morning on Good Day LA, there was a brief story on a teacher at a school in West Hills who promised his fourth grade class that if they raised $1,000 for Katrina victims, he would shave his head. They did and he did. I thought it was nice to see an adult keep his promise to kids.
Dorothy Lucey reported that the entire school raised over $8,000 for Katrina victims. I wondered if the money would be donated to the Red Cross, which seems to be the default for such donations. You might recall, though, that after checking Charity Navigator, I decided my money would be better off with Americares (because their administrative and fundraising costs were much lower).
Moreover, despite a front-page LA Times story about his 30-year history of faking credentials to gain prominent jobs, the Red Cross hired a man named Fred Brito as chief development officer in Pasadena, where he would have overseen fundraising of an area that covers 30 cities if he hadn’t been exposed before the end of his probationary period.
I think it would be a terrific lesson in money management if the teachers at the elementary school would present all of this information to their students, and discuss how to distribute the money with them. Maybe the students would decide that the money should go the Red Cross anyway, because their reach is so great and their history of doing good is well-documented. Maybe they would decide to donate the money to Americares or another organization. Or maybe they would decide to split the donation among several groups. No matter the outcome, the lesson about charity and compassion would be extended to encompass research, analytical thinking and money management. Now that’s worth teaching.