Monday, October 26, 2009

Greenwich United Way in Disarray?

Well, they can't even unite well enough to set a fund-raising goal for the coming year. "We'll take whatever anyone wants to give us," seems to be the message. As a former professional fund-raiser who pulled together over $75 million for worthy causes over the years, your scribe finds this about the most pathetic "campaign" he has ever heard of.

Recently a secret source who code-names himself "Deep Greenwich" has been whispering in your scribe's ear as to why this might be so. It seems the local United Way has been focusing on a different campaign these days: that of the increasingly unpopular and marginalized Lin-Lin Lavery. They seem to have forgotten their roots as the former Community Chest, working in support of non-partisan charitable organizations here in our local Town, and to be now injecting themselves hook, line, and sinker into partisan political dogfights like low-income housing and stumping for Lin-Lin.

In the olden days, the IRS would have been quick to investigate such a change in their mission statement, and to pull their 501 (c) (3) certification forthwith. But the Federal government, too, is at sixes and sevens right now, what with Obama playing basketball and golf while Iraq goes up in flames and our well-meant but increasingly ill-advised military adventure in Afghanistan continues to go down the tubes. An historian might query whether any lessons at all have been learned from the British misdaventure there a hundred and fifty years ago, or the Soviet debacle in more recent times; but historians seem to be in short supply these days. "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it," as Winston Churchill once famously said.

Alas, even today there are still British troops in Afghanistan, fighting and dying for a cause no more winnable that that which wiped out the Light Brigade. Someone had blundered then, and others seem to be blundering now. And the Pashtuns still hate the Tajiks and the Turks and the Mongols, all of whom cordially hate them in return. Do we really think we can bring "peace" to such an environment? At the moment, the only people the local tribes hate more than each other are the foreign armies on their soil. Does this mean that we have managed to "unify" Afghanistan? Talk about a hollow victory!

But back to Lin-Lin and her pet board of advisors, i.e., the board of the Dis-united Way. Do you think it is appropriate, dear reader, for a local not-for-profit organization to be meddling in local politics? Would we allow this kind of behavior from the YWCA, or the YMCA, or the Bruce Museum, or the Greenwich Arts Council, or the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich, or the Land Trust, or our local churches, or our local libraries, or any of the other organizations that make our Town such an outstanding place? Why, then, should we tolerate it from the Dis-united Way?

Your scribe does not presume to answer the question himself; he merely raises it for others to consider.


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