Do you have too much faith in your donations?

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BY JOSEPH CALANDRO JR.

Several people advised me not to write this column regarding fraud and charities, especially religious-based charities, because it would be too controversial. Meanwhile, a good friend pointed out that the potential controversy is exactly the reason why I should write it.
I must note that this column is not about any particular religion or charity. My interest is in pointing out the differences between making a charitable donation and making an investment. So here goes.
An episode of the TV show “American Greed” recently dealt with a financial fraud perpetrated by a religious organization. I was moved by this episode because, many years ago, my wife’s uncle was defrauded by his church.
Charity often involves the act of donating money to a particular cause. When making donations, people generally do not expect to get their money back but rather take it on faith that their money will be spent wisely in support of their charity.
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