Faith in Charity


“1 in 3 Americans Lacks Faith in Charities, Chronicle Poll Finds”

(I encourage you, at some point, to read the above article – you may likely be as surprised at some of the numbers as I was.)

I just returned from the National MS Conference in Fort Worth, TX (don’t call it Dallas – they hate that down there).  It was really an inspiring, motivating, and emotional few days.  Learned a lot, spent some great time with the local team, and met some National contacts as well.  I was part of the delegate assembly for our Chapter, so got to go through that process as well.  All good stuff.

As with most conferences that I go to, I don’t expect to learn a ton of things every day and in every session.  But if I can walk away from the trip with a few tidbits of knowledge or some new ideas to apply, then it’s worth the trip.  I wanted to share two of those tidbits with you, as I found them very compelling:

1 – The above quote – “1 in 3 Americans Lacks Faith in Charities”

2 – Another statistics, Non-Profits spent almost 10 times as much as for profit organizations to make a dollar.  Translated:  For Profit entities spend about two to three cents to make a dollar.  Non-Profit spends about twenty cents.

HOLY @#(&*!@(*!

 That’s what I said (to myself, of course) as I sat in my uncomfortable conference seat listening to this.  Having spent a lot of time in both camps, I’m aware that non-profits aren’t the most efficient engines – but I didn’t know there was that much disparity.

To translate this allegation to real life here in my world of MS, here’s what that means.  MS contributed about $53M in FY 2015 for research (a real number).  A lot of money, yes.  But at twenty cents per dollar for expenses, if I’m doing my math correct, they had to make $63.6M in order to fund that much research.  Even if you cut the expenses in half, that could still be another $5M that could go to research.  That’s a lot of research!

So when I heard that, followed by the “1 in 3” number, I almost fell off my chair.  But I am also not the type that is easily discouraged.  In my mind, that means we have some work to do ahead of us to improve that ratio.  I want to do what I can to make things run a bit more efficiently, and I also think that will help restore some faith in charities overall.

I certainly don’t want to sound like “Debbie Downer” here or discourage anyone from contributing.  MS is still one of the more efficient large charities out there, so that’s good.  Like I said, it just means we have some work to do.

The other thing that I wanted to comment on here, on an upbeat note, is the number of great and inspiring people that were recognized by the Society.  I was really amazed at the amount of time, talent, and funds raised by some of these folks.  Talk about inspiring.  They have really made MS their life’s work and are one of reasons there has been so much progress in MS in the last 5-10 years.

So I came back to Chicago with a plate full of work for sure, but also a tank full of energy to get it done.  I’m really blessed to have such a great group at MS to work with.  I sure hope we can make some progress soon.  Mom is still hanging in there.

Doing my best work…


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