Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Another Level of Giving

Upon careful reading of Maimonides' "Eight Levels of Charity," Madmunk humbly proposes another level:
Perfect charity is done when, by your gifts, the recipient is not only no longer dependent on others but is a giver himself as well, for, if at day's end, he is still the recipient and you are still the giver, his hand is not truly strengthened and, indeed, nothing much has changed.

4 comments:

Thomas said...

Isn't that the same as his highest level?

Madmunk said...

Not that I can tell.

Consider a foundation attempting to ascend to Maimonides' highest level. The donor makes a grant to the foundation such that they can build an earned income strategy and, thus, not be dependent on foundation dollars. That would be Maimonides' strengthening someone's hand, making them independent.

At the end of the day, the nonprofit, though independent, is still a nonprofit. The foundation is still a foundation. When discussions in the foundation world happen, the nonprofit gets lumped in with the nonprofits. The playing field, the dynamic between them hasn't necessarily changed. Despite independence, despite power, you're not much of anything until you have something to give.

And I figured that enabling not just independence but their generosity as well was worthy of another level.

Maimonides says give so that they don't have to ask anyone for more.

I say give so much that they can give as you do.

It's probably a nuance, but I thought it warranted another level.

Thomas said...

Ah, I see.

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