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Self-directed donations through United Way


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Next week is the annual fund raising initiative for United Way at my office. By making a donation, staff is eligible for a number of "perks" (jeans all week, pancake breakfast, possibility of three extra vacation days, etc.)

 

I have participated in the past, selecting to direct my donations to a charity of my choice (the local Assembly Hall). I pay a one-time administrative fee of $12.00 for selecting my own charity, and then have money taken from my paychecks. When searching for "Jehovah" on the donations selection site, a number of individual congregations are listed (anyone can add a charitable organization as long as you have their registration no.) This year, I noticed that the Regional Building Committee is also on the list.

 

Now my husband is wondering if this is alright to do, as he believes that UW is a religious organization. I did some research this morning, and found the following in their FAQs:

 

7.     Does United Way Centraide fund religious organizations?

United Way Centraide is non-partisan and non-religious. We fund primarily based on local community needs, regardless of religious affiliation. Some of the programs we fund have religious origins, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) and Jewish Family Services. However, the services and programs offered by these agencies are open to all individuals regardless of religious affiliation.

 

My thoughts are that, as I do not allow the UW to use my donation as it sees fit, I am not contributing to those religious-based programs. Is my thinking correct?

 

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5 minutes ago, Sylv said:

Next week is the annual fund raising initiative for United Way

 

This year, I noticed that the Regional Building Committee is also on the list.

 

My thoughts are that, as I do not allow the UW to use my donation as it sees fit, I am not contributing to those religious-based programs.

 

. Is my thinking correct?

 

I'm going to say yes,  your thinking is correct.  You are in control of your money,  you designated the end point for your contribution. 

Do they use any of these funds for their own reasons or does 100% of your monies go to your choice?

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2 minutes ago, tekmantwo said:

I'm going to say yes,  your thinking is correct.  You are in control of your money,  you designated the end point for your contribution. 

Do they use any of these funds for their own reasons or does 100% of your monies go to your choice?

100%, less $12.00 admin fee, goes to my choice.

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22 minutes ago, Sylv said:

My thoughts are that, as I do not allow the UW to use my donation as it sees fit, I am not contributing to those religious-based programs. Is my thinking correct?

My previous employer was very supportive of UW, it was expected that we contribute so I directed my contributions to the Branch.  I did some research at the time and even though you have designated 100% of your contributions and paid an admin fee, UW still deducts overhead expenses from your contribution. It's up to  you if you are comfortable supporting an organization that also supports other religions. Some may view it as a necessary part of doing business, like paying taxes and not worry about what the organization does with the overhead expenses.

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Hi Sister Sylvie,

 

It sounds like their are many benefits for you if you offer these donations through this United Way process.

I don't have much knowledge about the United Way, but I appreciated how you have a good conscience and want to make sure that you are not giving donations in a way that would displease our Father! :)

 

So I researched to see if there was anything ever mentioned in the history of our publications that spoke about the United Way. It turns out that there were a few references, but what is stated casts a negative light on the United Way. However, these articles are older(80s, 70s) and so maybe there has been some changes in United Way? 

 

But after reading these articles, it helped me to come up with a different angle of whether myself or you or any brother/sister would have a good conscience in using this donation process through the United Way. And so here is this different angle in the form of a question,  and I see now above that Brother Richard has a very similar thought/question:

"Even if I can verify that the United Way is not any form of a religious organization, how should I feel if I discover that the United Way supports other religions or organizations that promote immorality such as abortion clinics or a homosexual organization(mentioned in article below)?  Also, although my specific donation may go directly to Jehovah's Organization, what about the $12 fees that the United Way receives from me and others, do these funds help the United Way in providing support for other religions or organizations that Jehovah would not approve of?"

 

This were just some questions that came up in mind when mediating on these articles below.

So I hope all of this provides some help for you as you make this conscience decision. Oh, and 1 more idea, you could call the Donations Department in Bethel and ask them about this issue, they likely have received quite a few calls/letters over the years from brothers/sisters asking about this same situation! :)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

*** g80 6/8 p. 30 Watching the World ***
Unholy Alliance
The National Catholic Reporter has revealed a previously unknown agreement between the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia and the fund-raising charity United Way. It told of an unpublicized pact in 1975 between Cardinal John Krol and the then president of United Way in which United Way agreed not to give financial aid to any program or service that contradicted the “moral principles of the Catholic church.” This amounted to Church veto power over publicly collected funds. The agreement came to light when a women’s group was denied aid from United Way because of providing birth-control counseling.
Adverse reactions to the behind-the-scenes agreement came from many quarters. Some canceled United Way money pledges; others requested refunds. Members of the faculties and staffs of Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, also employees of the city of Philadelphia, withdrew support of the annual United Way fund-raising campaign. And legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union said that it may raise constitutional questions about discrimination against women and questions of state support of a religious institution.
 

*** g78 11/22 p. 30 Watching the World ***
Charity for Homosexuals
◆ “For the first time in its long history,” reports California’s San Francisco Chronicle, “the United Way (formerly United Crusade, formerly Community Chest) is funding a homosexual group; $30,000 [U.S.] to Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley.” No doubt contributors will be interested to know how their money is being used.


Edited by Beggar for the Spirit
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I really hope we don't go overboard on this.

 

If we don't patronize every entity that supports or does business with organizations that we don't approve of we are going to be keeping our monies in a bag in the yard, cuz banks, and growing our own produce, you know, cuz farms, never going out to eat, you know,  cuz restaurants cater to 'those' people. 

 

I don't go to second hand storesthat are run by churches,  but I have no problem with going to a second hand store that also does business with churches. 

 

I won't go to a bake sale run by a church  but I  have no problem  with buying cookies from a store that also sells cookies to church members..

 

I sure hope we can avoid laying a guilt trip on Brothers and Sisters that come here for encouragement. 

I may be out of line. If I am, I will apologize.  It's just the old straining out the gnat thing, gets me everytime...

 

Carry on.....

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1 hour ago, Beggar for the Spirit said:

*** g78 11/22 p. 30 Watching the World ***
Charity for Homosexuals
◆ “For the first time in its long history,” reports California’s San Francisco Chronicle, “the United Way (formerly United Crusade, formerly Community Chest) is funding a homosexual group; $30,000 [U.S.] to Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley.” No doubt contributors will be interested to know how their money is being used.

It has been my understanding that if someone contributes to the United Way but does not designate how their contributions are to be used, then the United Way may use them to support various groups that we wouldn't support. However, it's my understanding that if you designate where your contributions are to be used, then you are not contributing to or supporting other organizations. However, we should keep in mind that the United Way organization does use non-designated funds as it sees fit and our conscience should direct us whether or not we want to use an organization that will do that with non-designated funds.

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17 hours ago, Tortuga said:

 However, we should keep in mind that the United Way organization does use non-designated funds as it sees fit and our conscience should direct us whether or not we want to use an organization that will do that with non-designated funds.

Could the same be said about making donations to the Cancer Society? Most likely some of their research involves the use of blood. Taxes are used to support health care (including blood transfusions) and the military.

 

I will do the self-directed donation again this year, and, as in previous years, will not buy anything from the bake sale or support any other initiatives next week, as those cash donations will go directly to the UW to do with as they see fit.

 

Thanks all for your comments :)

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Well the only way for my wife to donate the value of her vacation time is through the united way ... her company  use to have their own self directed fund  but due to overhead now uses the united way .. it costs $12.00 .

So the cheque is sent to the congregation and they have no problem cashing it.

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Hi Tim,

I wanted to respond to your thoughts since I was 1 of the ones that posted and whom your words may be directed toward:

"I really hope we don't go overboard on this.

I sure hope we can avoid laying a guilt trip on Brothers and Sisters that come here for encouragement. 

I may be out of line. If I am, I will apologize.  It's just the old straining out the gnat thing, gets me everytime..."

Here is another way to view this topic. In your post you stated that "I don't go to second hand stores that are run by churches".  Why?  Because that is what your conscience has decided. But some Witnesses will go to these and their conscience permits this since they feel it is simply an exchange of goods or business transaction and they are not supporting the church. But if they asked you your opinion on this matter and you explained why you don't go to these, would you be "laying a guilt trip" on them?  No.

Should you be considered to be "straining out the gnat"?  No.

Why?  Because you were asked for your opinion and advice and because simply this was your own conscience decision and you were not insisting that they obey or follow your decision.

 

This was the same with Sister Sylvie, she had started this topic because her husband posed a question and she didn't want to do anything displeasing to Jehovah and wanted to have a good conscience, so she humbly asked for others opinions or research. So when Richard and I responded, we gave advice but didn't tell Sylvie that she would be wrong for making a decision. But we both presented some further information and potential problems that might bother the conscience of some brothers/sisters. Shouldn't Sylvie have all of the information possible so that she can make the best bible based conscience possible? Yes. 

 

Now in the research, 2 articles were found that spoke about the United Way and these were not in a very favorable light. But wouldn't you want to know anything that the Governing Body has mentioned on a question of conscience you are asking about? Of course. So that is all Richard and I was trying to do for Sylvie,  but I apologize to you if you felt I was being rigid or laying a guilt trip on Sylvie. And if Sylvie feels that I did so, then I will definitely apologize to her also. 

 

And as far as "straining the gnat", here is the application from the Governing Body:

*** it-1 p. 396 Camel ***
In his condemnation of the hypocritical Pharisees, Jesus spoke of their ‘straining out the gnat but swallowing the camel.’ Those men used to strain out the gnat from their wine, not merely because it was an insect, but because it was ceremonially unclean; yet they figuratively gulped down camels, which were also unclean. While insisting upon compliance with the minutest of the Law’s requirements, they entirely overlooked the weightier matters—justice, mercy, and faithfulness.—Mt 23:23, 24.


Edited by Beggar for the Spirit
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