Friday, July 11, 2008

Funky Fundraising

I’m not sure if this troublesome urban phenomenon happens in other cities, but here in Philly, I absolutely abhor seeing our young kids “fundraise” on medians in high traffic areas. It’s often both boys and girls and some look as young as 6 or 7 yrs. old and almost 99% of the time these are African American kids. You can find hot medians or street corners with this ghetto hustle year round, but it's extremely pervasive during the summer months. Sometimes they carry signs detailing how the donations will be used, usually for their local community football or or drill team; and they collect their cash in anything from plastic sand pails, jelly jars or even tin cans.

I never give donations because I don’t want to support this form of solicitation. But I often wonder who would allow their kids to get out and fundraise for whatever reason in busy traffic? In fact, are these kids even fundraising at all or simply pandhandling? What’s wrong with the old fashioned bake sale or car wash to beef up their organization’s booty? Do I even know their cause is legit? Am I just too cynical?

I’m all for teaching our kids how to be fiscally responsible, but unlike my local volunteer fire department, I have no way of verifying that these kids, hustling for some change, represent a certified 501C3 and if the money is really going where they say it is. I’m also all for encouraging our children’s participation in community service, but this form of fundraising is a bit too shady for my tastes and what’s more, it’s just plain dangerous; and let's be clear, somewhere in this picture there's an adult, selling this as an appropriate form of earning money for whatever reason and it's with those individuals that I really have a problem with. It’s also indicative of the lack of opportunities or activities many of our children face during the long summer months.


toni said...

This happens in Atlanta, as well. The fundraising is not legitimate. They are just a bunch of kids who want some money and they have figured out that people will donate if they think it is for the Boys and Girls Club or some other organization that is supposedly going to keep these kids off the street. I have some of them in stores spending money that they just solicited minutes before.

Mango Mama said...

Toni, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for letting me know really up and what's going on in ATL.

Me said...

Hey MM,

I'm so glad you brought this up because I always feel guilty when I pass these kids by and immediately assume they're just asking for money for video games. I know they used to do that in NYC on the subway.

But just to be fair. White kids do this too, I've seen them on City Line Ave asking for money for cancer victims. And maybe I'm biased, but it seems like lots more people put money in their pot.

But either way, I think it's the stupidest most dangerous way to raise funds.

Mango Mama said...

Hey Me, Hope you're feeling much better.

I didn't know about the White kids on City Ave, and you're right it's simply stupid for kids to be allowed to do this and why aren't the police shooing them away?

Nerd Girl said...

Aaargh - grown folks and children alike do this in Jackson. I'd never seen this before I moved here. I just find it dangerously strange. I am NOT rolling my window down and encouraging anyone to run across lanes of traffic so I can drop a dollar in a bucket, no matter the cause.