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Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeOpinionColumnDo you believe the cynical saying that no good deed goes unpunished?

Do you believe the cynical saying that no good deed goes unpunished?

By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times

Of all the good life lessons I learned from my mother, charitable giving has always been the most gratifying.

Helping others in various ways is a wonderful characteristic of Christian believers and it allows us to follow the incredible example of Jesus Christ, both in word and in deed.

Mom always gave to worthy causes, starting with church tithing, and I have been doing that for many years. She and other members of my and my wife’s families fell victim to cancer and we always sent an annual gift to the American Cancer Society.

We both went to college so we gave to the universities where we earned four-year degrees. In fact, we established a scholarship endowment at each of those schools to honor our parents.

We encouraged our children in school activities and became donors and volunteers in various K-12 booster groups and now continue that support for grandchildren. We’ve given to several other good causes to fight hunger and disease here and in foreign lands, to help the recovery of the victims of natural disasters, to support veterans, and the list goes on and on.

In calendar year 2000, not to be bragging, we gave to about two dozen separate charitable organizations. My wife, Janet, was our family treasurer until she became ill and died in mid-2022. By the end of that year, I had added about 10 more charities to our giving list, most of them in her memory.

However, as that year ended and 2023 began, I decided that national charities must share the names of donors with others because my gift solicitations became a torrent of junk mail. Sometimes, I receive as many as five giving appeals a day.

Even after the standard charitable deduction was raised to $25,000 for a couple filing jointly, we continued to be generous because it felt like the right thing to do, and with our children grown and gone, we could afford to do it.

Today, however, I realize that I must learn to differentiate real need from pure greed or stop such giving altogether.

Contact Keith at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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