The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

December 9, 2012

Yes, good people outnumber the bad

RICHMOND — Those of us in the media often hear that we focus too much on bad news.

That may be true, but anytime we’re late reporting on a crime, scandal or disaster, we usually get criticized even more harshly.

And, now that we can track the number of views on our website and Facebook page, we can see that stories about bad things happening get more looks.

Sometimes, I doubt whether social ills can be remedied, but we can’t try to fix problems we know nothing about.

There are plenty of good stories, however, and one of them runs under a banner headline on today’s front page.

On Wednesday, publisher Nick Lewis, senior news writer Ronica Shannon and I met with three men who want to facilitate good things in our community.

Jeff Fultz, Ralph Hacker and George Ridings are promoting a way people who want to make this community a better place can make contributions that will be of benefit far into the future.

The Madison County Community Foundation is a vehicle that will allow anyone to invest in our county’s future. Donations to the foundation will be placed in safe investments, and local charities will be able to apply for grants from the endowment’s earnings.

Many needs are urgent, and donors should not ignore them as they need immediate attention. But those of a charitable spirit also should make contributions that will keep on giving.

By placing a portion of their charitable gifts in the Madison County Community Foundation’s endowment, those donations will help fill community needs far into the future.

This kind of arrangement should naturally appeal to those who have acquired wealth over a lifetime. They did so by saving and investing, and now they have an opportunity to do the same with a share of their charitable donations.

Regardless of the extent of our wealth, every penny we donate to the foundation will continue to pay dividends indefinitely.

While most givers want to help fill a need or solve a problem rather than receive a benefit, their gifts to the foundation currently qualify for substantial state and federal tax deductions.

Talk of tax reform, both in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., inevitably includes suggestions that all deductions be eliminated to help simplify what everyone regards as a far-too-complex tax system. While tax breaks for charitable donation are unlikely to be end, they could be reduced. Donors should think about that as they plan their estates and current charitable giving.

Many people insist that private charities, rather than government, should take the lead in attacking social ills. Now they have another way to back up that sentiment with real, lasting action.

Government funding can dry up, but a well-managed endowment can keep generating funds nearly forever.

Fultz, Ridings and Hacker, along with attorney Charles Hoffman, the local foundation’s chair, are among our community’s most successful and respected leaders. We can rest assured the system they lead will be well managed and profitable, providing the greatest possible benefit.

I hope you find this column as refreshing to read as it was for me to write. If you appreciate good news, you can generate more of it by responding to the Madison County Community Foundation’s appeal.

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