Cold challenge in hot water

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Every morning, as people wake up and log onto Facebook, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the growing number of videos in their news feed showing friends having buckets of ice water poured over their heads and then nominating others to do the same.


As some scroll, they dread the day they’ll become the newest nominee dragged into the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.


Where does the money go? Well-meaning donors, many of whom believe in the sanctity of life should know that large portions of their donations are going to fund stem cell research, to which they may have a moral objection.


In the process of bettering human lives that cope with ALS, money is going to the recreation and destruction of human cells for hit-and-miss scientific analysis––what many consider a most literal crime against humanity.


Also, there’s the breakdown of the funds the ALS Foundation receives. According to data provided by the ECFA, an organization founded in 1979 with the mission to promote the transparency of non-profit organizations, it’s not even a charity.


By that group’s definition, to be a charitable organization it must prove that 80 percent of its funds go to projects directly linked with its cause. In the case of the ALS Foundation, only 27 percent of donations go toward helping victims.


Also potentially disturbing is that the leadership of the ALS Foundation does quite well for itself in the non-profit business.


President and CEO Jane Gilbert makes nearly $400,000 a year, and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Renzikov makes more than $200,000 a year. Aside from the questionable salaries, what many express frustration with is the feeling of being forced against their wills. No one should be nominated for a charitable activity.


Generosity is a personal conviction. Individuals should be able to choose freely if they want to donate and what causes or organizations they donate to.


Further, one could argue the Ice Bucket Challenge is inherently disrespectful as it shifts the attention from ALS, its victims and possible solutions to the admittedly entertaining antics of screaming, gasping, shivering participants and their unsuspecting friends who must now give into peer pressure to continue the frigid cycle.


Another problem with the idea of nominating people for charity is the lack of consideration for others’ finances. What if someone who received that dreaded notification simply didn’t have the money to participate? What if he or she had already allotted an amount to give to an equally noble effort?


Guilt should never be motivation for giving. This leads to an unhealthy environment in which it is acceptable for people to intimidate one another while hiding behind the mask of a good cause.

Author: Antonio Hebert

Share This Post On


Commenting Policy
We welcome your comments on news and opinions articles, provided that they allowed by our Commenting Policy.