Donations by wealthy patients: why not?

Donations by wealthy patients: why not?

The Nonprofiteer is shocked, shocked! that some medical centers are asking doctors to help secure donations by wealthy patients.  Because after all, with every possible medical need met by our current system, why should hospitals even think about getting additional money?

What's that you say?  There are still unmet needs?  Then asking people who have benefited from exceptional care to make sure it's available to others is no more shocking than asking alumni who've benefited from exceptional education to make sure that's available to others.

So much of philanthropy involves these nonsensical pretenses: that we're "friend-raising" rather than "fund-raising," that we're all too high-minded to think about money.  The Nonprofiteer has never understood it and never will.  Unless and until social needs are adequately met by the public sector, we'll have to ask for support from the private sector; and when we do, who better to ask than its beneficiaries?

It's hard to imagine that's more unethical than asking poor people to go without care because we're too dainty to mention the inequality of resources glaring us in the face.

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    Nonprofiteer

    The Nonprofiteer is Kelly Kleiman, principal of NFP Consulting, which provides Board development, strategic planning and fund-raising services to charities and philanthropies. Through her consulting practice and in her guise as The Nonprofiteer, Kelly has spent the past 25-plus years helping small and mid-sized nonprofits organize themselves better and raise more money. These days she focuses especially on helping them use high-skill volunteers. Kelly is also a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; in the alternative press; on websites including the Huffington Post; and on the radio, including the BBC and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She and her fellow "Dueling Critic" Jonathan Abarbanel present a weekly podcast of their reviews of Chicago theater at DuelingCritics.net. Earlier in her career she was dean of admissions of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and practiced real estate and zoning law with the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Kelly holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. She was a founding Board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and also served for 5 years on the Board of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago. She can be reached ("Dear Nonprofiteer . . .") at KellyNFP@yahoo.com.

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