Know Where Your Money Goes!

If you donate money through work-sponsored charitable causes…have you taken the time to check on for what that money is being spent? Similarly, when the neighborhood charitable fund drive comes knocking at your door…what groups are getting their hands on your hard earned money?

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is groups that ask for my money and then use that money to work against my beliefs. Case in point: Today in the Minneapolis StarTribune there’s an article that talks about the entire board of directors of the local Minnesota Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation resigning their positions. Why? The official response is because of “philosophical differences.” Truth is, however, one of the big issues that has dogged the local chapter for many years involves hunting. Here’s what the StarTribune said:

“The local board also objected to other directives that included no granting of wishes that involve hunting or firearms, a decision that dates to a Minnesota hunting wish that sparked national controversy in the 1990s….”

“Tensions between local and national offices date at least to 1996, when Make-A-Wish Minnesota granted an Alaska bear-hunting trip to Erik Ness, a White Bear Township teenager suffering from brain cancer. Animal rights groups and some other chapters objected, and in 2000 the national Make-A-Wish Foundation banned wishes involving hunting. Ness died in 1999 at age 21.”

Why would any sportsman want to contribute money to a group that would not honor the wish of a dying child…even if that child wanted to go hunting? Frankly, I think the concept of making dreams of dying children possible should not be governed by whether or not a bunch of decision makers personally approve of an activity…especially when the activity is perfectly legal for the child, or any healthy child to participate in.

But let’s get serious here. This is all about politics and how a non-profit organization will cower to big money interest. In this case, the big money is from the very groups looking to put us sportsmen out of business. It’s obvious these “anti” groups threatened the national M-A-W Foundation through coercive tactics likely involving their membership boycotting their financial support. In so doing, it was much better for M-A-W to disappoint a single dying child, than a large group of potential donors.

I was outraged when I first heard this story several years ago and now today it makes me even more upset to see this all finally come to a head. On the other hand, the former local board of directors, including the former local president, Karla Blomberg, deserves a hearty THANK YOU from all of us who purport to be sportsmen in this great state. Thankfully, young Erik not only experienced his dream hunt once…but also again later in the year when he was finally successful in his hunting efforts.

Back in the mid-90s it was the local Minnesota Chapter of M-A-W working with the Minnesota Safari Club chapter conducting private fundraising efforts to get young Erik on his hunt. The money could not come from M-A-W because of the raging controversy that continues to this day, hence the recent resignations. The national organization of M-A-W has since issued the following policy:

“it is not in the best interests of the children we serve for us to continue considering wishes that involve firearms, hunting bows or other hunting or sport-shooting equipment.”

Well, folks…read that policy statement one more time. If it isn’t in the best interest of the M-A-W Foundation to serve kids who have deep desires to partake lawfully in the sports that we embrace…why then would we support financially a group that so blatantly slaps all of us in the face? I think it’s high time all of us sportsmen flex our power and withhold any future contributions that may go directly or indirectly to groups such as this. Instead, check out organizations such as This organization, although I do not necessarily endorse it per se, seems much more worthy of our funds than M-A-W Foundation.

No, I think this time the national Make-A-Wish Foundation has really shot itself in the foot. When it cannot work with a local board of directors and president who obviously could set aside politics and facilitate the wishes of a dying child…then I suggest this is an organization led by people who can go without all of our support. Let them get their money from the animal rights groups and others with whom they’ve proven to favor based on their past and present ill-conceived actions.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.