Muslim Charities and the BBB

Before coming to work for InterVarsity, I reviewed charities for the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has one of the best charity accreditation programs in the country. Charities are asked to submit financial statements, governance documents, and copies of their fundraising materials, and the BBB reviews them against a set of 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Today, the BBB and a group called Muslim Advocates announced a plan to encourage Muslim charities to undergo the BBB’s accreditation program. Muslim charities have been under a great deal of scrutiny since 9/11 for supposed ties to terrorism, and ethical Muslim charities hope that this new program will encourage donors to trust them with their money. One of the mantras that I repeated while I was at the BBB was that it was nearly impossible for a donor to tell the difference between a “legitimate” charity and an unethical one, and that even the definition of “legitimate” was questionable. For example, the American Red Cross has been involved in a number of ethics scandals, regarding their executives, their handling of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and their blood donation program. Yet the Red Cross unquestionably does a great deal of good. Are they “legitimate”? Are they “ethical”? This is why the BBB’s standards are so important. The standards provide 20 objective measures of a charity’s practices and policies, so that donors can make their own decision. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the first charities to volunteer for the program is the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, which would have been part of my territory.

Way to go, BBB!

Postmodern Art Gallery

Yesterday, our daughters spent part of the afternoon painting outside on our patio.  When it came time to put away the paints, our 4-year-old had a stack of wet paintings that needed to be hung up and dried.  “Aha,” I thought, “I’ll just get some twine and clothespins and hang them on the deck.”  My next thought, however, was, “Twine and clothespins?  What is this – Little House on the Prairie? We don’t even have twine and clothespins!”

So I created a hanging wall with the contemporary equivalent: DSL cable and binder clips.  Problem solved.

Pictures drying on the deck

Pictures drying on the deck

DSL cable as twine

DSL cable as twine

Binder clips as clothespins

Binder clips as clothespins

Wal-Mart Doesn't Like Macs, Apparently

Wal-Mart Music DownloadsA humorous message from Wal-Mart’s music download website:

We’re sorry, your operating system is incompatible. To provide the best download experience, we can no longer support Windows 98, ME or NT. Please visit again after you upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. 

I am amused because:

  1. I have a Mac, and don’t plan on “upgrading” to Windows anytime soon. 
  2. Notice how Vista isn’t even mentioned. 

 

The Final Countdown?

Well, this is quite possibly our final Monday as a family with two kids.  Elizabeth is due to give birth to our son this Friday, May 2 (which is also my mother’s birthday).  Agatha was right on time – born at 8:00 am on her due date – while Ginger was two weeks late.  Just about everything is ready – we have a name picked out (it’s a secret), a crib, a freshly painted pirate-themed nursery.  Not everyone is ready, though: Elizabeth asked Ginger what she thought of baby brother.  She shook her head and said, “No like!”

Gillette AristocratIn other news, we received yet another free television, this time an HDTV from Elizabeth’s aunt!  While there, we also received several family heirlooms that had belonged to Elizabeth’s grandmother.  I claimed this incredible Gillette Aristocrat safety razor.  Elizabeth insists that I not use it, but, if I did, it came with several dozen extra razors.  

If I did decide to convert to “wet shaving,” at least I have some good guidance from Andy Crouch.