Included in the metropolitan section of the Sunday New York Times is a left-of-center opinion column. There's no right-of-center column to balance it out. This week's was by a writer who seems to have given money to Greenpeace and then felt bad because the money wasn't helping the poor. Under the headline "Bulk of Charitable Giving Not Earmarked for Poor," the columnist complains:
Nationally, 32 percent of the $298 billion given away last year went to religious organizations, 13 percent to cultural organizations and 12 percent to social services...if giving were conducted with the greatest consideration paid to the most urgent needs of the society, then Yale, a private institution with a $19.2 billion endowment, would arguably never receive another 50 cents.
The column goes on to mention a large gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Some points worth mentioning in response:
"Religious organizations" and "social services" are not mutually exclusive. The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the UJA-Federation of New York and Lord knows how many church-run soup kitchens or rescue missions are religious organizations that also provide services to the poor.
I don't give money to Yale, but it deserves better than the Times column, even by the Times' standards. What better anti-poverty program is there than giving some poor but talented student a Yale education? Yale College budgets $120 million a year for financial aid, and the college says 57% of undergraduates qualify for some sort of need-based financial aid. The Yale New Haven health system says it "provides more free and charity care than any other hospital or system in Connecticut." And Yale law professors and economists are doing work that bears directly on global poverty.
As for the Met, it serves plenty of New York City public school students, and it has Spanish-language family programs at the Cloisters. Anyone who thinks idea that it's never been enjoyed by a poor person can't possibly have spent much time there.