Friday, June 07, 2013

We could get a grant for that

I am involved with a number of not for profit organisations, that like most of them in this country, are heavily reliant on the good will of hardworking committee members to get their work done.

Money is always tight, and it rare to get through a meeting without someone suggesting we ''get a grant'' to help cover the costs of a particular project.
what a wonderful idea - fancy that there would be so many philanthropic organisations or there prepared to give money for the good of the community!

Yes, it true, that there are a few of these amazing groups, mainly attached to large corporates, who generously give money for the betterment of our small towns and communities.  But don't be under any illusions.  By far and way, the most generous of these, and the most common, are those that ''redistribute'' money from gaming machines.

Just this week I spoke to a trustee of a gaming machine proceeds Trust who mentioned that in the town he looks after (population 15000) the take each week of LOSSES in machines is $60,000.  Multiply that across the whole of NZ and it is a mind boggling amount of money that is disappearing out of circulation into those horrible shiny machines, and being ''given back'' by way of grants and donations.

So that's good right? At least the money is being returned to the community and not held in the pockets and profits of the businesses who house these thieving things?  The trusts are run by responsible people who ensure that the money goes to worthy projects that benefit their local communities right?  If it wasn't for these machines we wouldn't have restored buildings, lovely parks for our kids to play in, secretaries of NFPs being paid, community centres, and reading/cooking/life skill programmes for the disadvantaged right?

Well, may be not, but but we'd also have, in my community alone, an extra
sixty thousand dollars a week in our economy.  And I would argue that those people feeding slot machines, and losing, are funding projects that are by and large nice to haves not need to haves.  Especially when compared to the social cost gaming machines are having in the first instance.  Add to that the irony that those who are losing the most are getting a portion back by way of a cooking lesson or food parcel, and it seems to be an immoral industry all round.

Think carefully next time you suggest to your committee that you ''get a grant''.  Think about who is actually funding your project.

Then decide which focus of social betterment is more palatable.

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