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Readers React to Thrift Shops for Charity

October 08, 1987

I read your article with mixed emotions. First, I found it interesting to see the methods used by charities to raise funds. On the other hand, I was deeply disturbed by the editorialism displayed by this article.

It is very difficult and sometimes impossible for charitable organizations to raise funds necessary to accomplish their various objectives. The law does provide for tax benefits to certain nonprofit organizations.

The entrepreneurs who set up these apparently successful thrift businesses, by which charities "sell their names for 10 cents on the dollar" is irrelevant. The individuals who make the money retained for their entrepreneurial risk pay taxes upon their income.

So my question to you is: What difference does it make if a charitable organization uses a non-charitable organization to assist in raising funds? These charities that "sell their names" are figuring out a new way to make money. Presumably, if the nonprofit organization thought it could make more money operating the thrift store itself, you would expect that it would do whatever was in its own best financial interest.

Perhaps the way to remedy the public's concern in this regard is to simply establish certain notification requirements regarding the percentage of proceeds which are distributed to the nonprofit organization.

RUSSELL L. BERNEY

Santa Monica

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