Friday's Weekend Column
Not Having Money Can Be A Good Thing

by James Glaser
June 13, 2003

With the down turn of the economy and the budget shortfalls of the state and local government, nonprofit organizations have found it harder to make ends meet. Our VFW has some charitable gambling funds we give to the community, but even our moneys are going south as the State of Minnesota takes more and more of this Charitable money for the General Fund.

Even though we are getting groups asking us for funds that we have never heard of before, there is a silver lining to this cash crunch. A couple members told us that this was a good thing and went on to explain their thoughts.

Years ago there were no nonprofit organizations, other than the churches. Everybody else worked for their money. Girl Scouts sold cookies, while the Boy Scouts sold candy and popcorn. Both troops had bake sales and did yard chores to raise money for summer camp.

All year long there were raffle tickets wherever you went. There were community dinners, box lunches, and auctions of donated items. This was a time that people were self sufficient and would not look for a hand out.

Some time this all changed and these guys didn't know when that was for sure, but all of a sudden people started looking for grants from the government to get things done. Parents didn't have to worry about the Scout Troop because they got a grant for their whole budget.

Today if you do have a raffle, the state gets their take right of the top, because you have to buy a permit. No, you can't have someone with a copy machine make up the tickets as they need that permit number and consecutive ticket numbers on each.

So here is the reason that these two guys felt that the lack of "free" money was a good thing. Now communities will have to work together again to get things done. Neighbors will meet neighbors. People will spend time with their children raising money for that new ball field.

Here is the biggest benefit from all of this and I think these guys are right on the money here. The community that works together to get something for themselves will have a real pride in the project. Children will treat whatever they had to work for with respect, because they will learn what it took to get it.

Later on in their lives, those children that worked to get that ball field or some youth center will tell their kids what they had to do to get it for them and those new parents that worked on these projects as children, will be more than willing to work with their kids do the same.

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