SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Taking Care of Our Own…. Stop Giving Money to Foreign or Out of State Organizations!



November 11, 2017
Tuesday PM

(SitNews) - I was watching a You Tube video recently and an ad for one of those animal support campaigns came on. You know the one that pulls on your heartstrings and messes with your emotions by showing clips of dogs and cats in cages while simultaneously playing Sarah Mclachlan’s “In the arms of an angel” in the background?

I’ve seen enough of these types of commercials now that they actually make me temporarily angry. To the point that I have to either quickly turn off the commercial or leave the room. Now, before you judge me as neurotic let me explain.

jpg Taking Care of Our Own….

The reason why these types of ads upset me is because they are the epitome of virtue signaling (a term I have used in the past).

Virtue Signaling Definition:

“To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.
Fred: I see George has changed his profile picture to show his support for refugees. 

Barbara: Has he donated money or time? Is he giving English lessons? Is he making a room available? 

Fred: No, no, he's just virtue signaling. (1)

Giving money to these organizations may make you feel good temporarily but they ultimately don’t do anything and worst of all that money could have actually been used locally to make a big difference! For example the charity that Sarah McLachlan supports, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, spends 27 cents on the dollar for overhead, administration and paying their CEO $521, 245 a year! (2)

Now imagine the difference that type of money could have made if it went to our own local charities?

Instead what we see are hundreds of local individuals running around frantically selling cookies, donuts, popcorn, magazines to fundraise for obscure organizations out-of-state or out-of-the-country. Worse, some people will use fundraisers of thousands of dollars as an excuse to go on vacation a “mission trip” to help provide “aid” to XYZ country instead.

People often use charities as away to travel the world and go on a vacation and I get that people want to go on vacation but don't be disingenuous. If you need a vacation, go on one. If you truly want to help and be of service then help be of service to OUR community. 

Case in point, certain individuals where I live have raised literally tens of thousands of dollars in the last two years to go to Africa and help the Africans. These individuals are genuinely great people and there are also genuine problems in Africa. However;

Why are we not focusing OUR energy and money on our own community?

Serious question.

Prince of Wales and Ketchikan from the native communities to the rural bush islanders are so Unique that we are routinely featured in magazines, books, and even on television. People spend thousands of dollars every year to come up here for vacation and become enamored with this region and all its untapped potential; and then year after year, they come back and nothing has changed.

Look, I get that the world is full of terrible things and starving people but let's face reality--you aren't actually doing any of those foreign outside communities any real long term good. All you are doing is stroking your ego. Most of these charities that we send money on or travel to help, are in countries with dictators, where in a few years the house you built will be demolished, the garden you planted will be burned and the people you met displaced. That's just a fact. 

However, if you put the same amount of time, energy and money in your own backyard, it actually has an immediate long lasting effect for the community!

Your children will benefit from the fruits of your labor, your grandkids, your friends, your neighbors and visitors may even flock to the island for your special event, endeavor, project, or creation!

Case in Point: the POW Island Marathon or the Ketchikan Blueberry Festival. That vision and the passion for these events attract people from all corners of the sate and the nation. Let me ask--why donate to a foreign marathon when you have one in your own city?  Why donate to a festival in Juneau or Anchorage when you can make the one at home better?

Why build a church in some thankless foreign nation, when we have churches on our own islands that are in disrepair?

Why go and teach other people how to speak a foreign language when our islands have their OWN dying languages that are in desperate need for revival?

These questions aren’t asked often enough. Perhaps our own projects here at home aren’t well organized, communicate or publicize well enough but I know that they are there.

You know that they are there.

This knowledge that my community could use my dollar locally is what prevents me from swiping my credit card and pressing “yes” on the “would you like to donate to XYZ charity” in the grocery store. This knowledge that my community could use my dollar locally is what enrages me whenever I see Sarah McLaughlin on the television.

Again, if you truly want to help and be of service, be of help and be of service to OUR community.

Don’t know where to start?

Write articles or letters to the newspaper.

Volunteer once a month

Go to community events that are planned instead of sitting at home

Visit your elderly neighbor and ask them if they need help this weekend

Just do something for the community and you will not only feel better but you will actually see the results of your labor making lasting impacts in your community.

In closing, with these Hurricanes that have been wrecking havoc across our nation, it is that much more important that our hard earned dollars stay in our country, stay in our state, stay in our community.






Arthur Martin ©2017

Arthur was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated legally to Alaska when he was young. He graduated from Craig, Alaska. Holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and worked for the Alaska State Legislature for three sessions.

Arthur now lives on Prince of Wales Island. He can be contacted at - This column has been edited by the author.

Arthur Martin is the Editor of the P.O.W. AK Report


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