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The Daily Tar Heel

Conservative Raleigh think tank asks donors to reconsider Giving Tuesday

On Monday, a conservative think tank in Raleigh asked its supporters to think twice about making donations on Giving Tuesday, calling it a “leftist idea.”

Francis De Luca, president of the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute, said the movement by non-profits and businesses to ask for donations after the shopping surges of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is wrong.

“While giving to charity is good and noble, being ‘guilted’ into giving to charity is not, and that’s what #givingtuesday is all about: transforming ‘giving’ into ‘giving back,’” De Luca said in an email to the think tank’s supporters.

“The phrase ‘give-back’ comes from the leftist idea that individuals can’t achieve success on their own; that successful people must have taken advantage of others to get where they are,” he said.  

De Luca followed his criticism of the movement by asking for donations to the think tank.

“At Civitas, we’ve never said you should support us because you ought to, and we’ve never taken a dime of taxpayer money like the Left does,” he said.

The Civitas Institute describes itself as a non-profit policy organization that fights to remove barriers to freedom so all North Carolinians can enjoy a better life. The think tank publishes articles and policy guides and conducts polls.

Giving Tuesday is a movement started by the 92nd Street Y in New York City that aims to connect diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world to celebrate and encourage giving. The movement, which is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,  helped raise $177 million in online donations in 2015.

Several non-profits in the Chapel Hill area, including The Daily Tar Heel, participated in the event, along with other charities around the world.

Rachel Bearman, executive director of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels, said Giving Tuesday helped the non-profit collect donations from those who are not regular givers.

“We are a very small, local non-profit and Giving Tuesday is one of the biggest giving days of the year in the United States," she said. "It’s an opportunity all across the country for all different sized nonprofits to take advantage of people thinking about giving.”

Bearman said the distinction between “giving” and “giving back” is not important because those in need are benefiting regardless.

“Giving is not political, and I don’t understand the need to make it political,” Bearman said.  

Sharon Halperin, director of the Holocaust Speakers Bureau, said she was surprised by De Luca’s comments about Giving Tuesday.

“Why on earth would anyone politicize philanthropy? Our Center has been sending messages of gratitude for years, much before we jumped on the Giving Tuesday bandwagon,” she said in an email.

The Civitas Institute and De Luca declined to comment on the email.


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