Thursday, September 26, 2013

No strings attached

We turned down a financial gift this week, and that hurt. But the strings attached to the gift hurt even more.

Here's the background.

HFP seeks funds from foundations simply because the gifts of our supporters can't quite cover the budget. Many of our partners are lower income people.

The foundation considered a gift, but suggested these conditions: the foundation's name would have to be attached to every effort on our part to seek compassionate release for dying prisoners; the foundation's name must be used in a public announcement; and the foundation's name must be shared with the prisoner as well as the inmate's family in each individual case.

In other words, HFP would become a publicity tool for the foundation.

It's important to stress here that this is a fine foundation with a great reputation. Under different circumstances we would have no problem promoting its cause.

But this proposal flies in the face of our entire philosophy.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh made this profound statement many years ago:“To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.”
HFP doesn't shout from the rooftops every time it scores some little success while helping a poor inmate. The prisoner knows without question that our friendship is genuine, and God knows we are not doing these things for personal gain. Perhaps that's why our bank balance is constantly bottoming out, but it's the way we operate: down in the trenches with our sleeves rolled up, seeking no public recognition.

Happily, that's also the story of many of our donors. Many prefer anonymity, relishing in the thought that they are helping prisoners without any hope of thanks.

And so we turned down a badly needed gift. To the HFP gang, it was the only option with integrity.

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