Charities argue for status quo not cure
When Michael J. Fox brought his foundation to Canada in an effort to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, he met the resistance from the Canadian charities lobby.
Michael J. Fox’s New Canada Charity Raises Concern for Parkinson’s Groups ran the headline in Philanthropy Today
“Joyce Gordon, president of the Parkinson Society of Canada, worried that Mr. Fox’s organization could undercut donations to her group and divert funds and attention from existing education and support campaigns.”
It is rare that a charity will openly admit they are in the business of maintaining the status quo and not curing the problem. No doubt we can expect further PR spin from the Parkinson’s Society telling us that is not what they meant to say. Their candor is refreshing and depressing all at once.
Gordon and Philanthropy Today may be right. Fox’s foundation might draw money away from the charitable organizations and may find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
That would be bad because charities have budgets and buildings and people to pay for. They need to collect money from the government and private sector and any competition for those dollars is evil.
Charities have forgotten their purpose and become self-important business organizations. They don’t want to cure disease, poverty or discrimination against the disabled. They need those causes to evoke your sympathy and get donations.
It is a cruel world and everyone is fighting for scarce resources.
Charities are the gatekeepers for those living with disabilities, dispensing enough paternalistic care to publicly justify their existence and donations year after year. A cure or fixing the problem would make their existence redundant and that would be bad for business.
Many people argue that charity plays a positive role in the lives of the “disadvantaged.” Some might see that it is contradictory to point out that while most people with disabilities do not have access to a safety net while at the same time criticizing charities and social service agencies…Charities at best create dependency; at worst they further degrade and isolate. The raison d’etre of charity is to help the helpless. Charities would whither away…if people were not deemed helpless…” Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment
The paraplegic organizations made the same type of statements when Christopher Reeve used his celebrity to promote a cure for spinal cord injuries. “It can’t be done. He’s wasting his time.” the charities said while the spinal cord injured, the actual people living in wheelchairs, prayed he might find one.
Good luck to Michael J. Fox and his hope for a cure.
We need to examine what benefit there is to all the tax dollars, public and private money spent on disability charities in Canada.
We probably would get more benefit from making Canada a place where the disabled can live, work and play at far less cost.