I think I’ve cooled down enough
Hillel says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”
Last Monday, as we were moving into the last round, the director announced that for the entire week, all the games would be ACBL Charity games, with the Contra Costa Bridge Center paying the extra dollar for the players.
The previous week, the club had donated half of the table fees to SHARE, the food bank that lives in the same church where we play cards. The donation was over $1600, a number to be very proud of.
Since the Unit Vice-President (who was president last year), Ann Hollingsworth, was at my table, I asked her what the Unit was doing for charity. She brightened right up, and said they were doing quite a lot.
“The Unit is paying for all the food at the Unit Games. And we paid for food at the Sectional last weekend” she merrily chirped.
Discerning readers will notice immediately that paying for the food at our own parties isn’t charity, a fact I mentioned to Ann. I suggested that people with self respect or the slightest charitable bone in their body don’t behave that way.
“Our bylaws don’t require that we give anything to charity. We’re keeping the money for the bridge players”, Ann said.
Resisting the urge to get myself life in prison, I asked if the bylaws said we had to be selfish assholes. She said no, the money was for the benefit of the players.
Ann then told me that they would discuss local charitable donation next year, because in the course of this entire year there just hadn’t been enough time. I think I may have stopped being polite about there.
This is reprehensible. We are a wealthy group of people, surrounded every day by the poor and homeless coming to the food bank at our own club. To think that we are going to sit on roughly $35,000 so we can smugly go swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck in his vault is an abomination.
In years past, our unit has proudly made an active point of contributing to local charities. I spoke with two past presidents and learned that our board traditionally had a specific charity chair whose purpose it was to locate local charities and recommend donations to the board. Not anymore.
When did Unit 499 become useless, heartless, uncaring Philistines? Why? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m better than that, and you are too. The current unit board, at least the president and vice-president, not so much.
The ACBL donates money to charity. District 21 donates. Contra Costa Bridge Center donates. Only Unit 499 remains stingy and uncaring, due to an absolute failure of leadership. It’s time that stopped.
I urge you to call any and all members of the unit board and tell them we are not heartless cretins. The list is on the unit website. Tell them that we should be contributing members of society. Tell them that you want our unit to make regular, reasonable contributions to worthwhile local charities. We have to do better, this is intolerable.