It’s not true that “Money can’t buy you love.” It can. Charities are eager to love me. Contribute to one and I hear from any of their neighbors who are within shouting distance. Each time I contribute, I’m aware I’m added to a list which is sold to other non-profits. These lists are a commodity which is more valuable to a charity than my contribution, so I don’t complain. As a result, the ink on my check has barely dried before I see my mail box stuffed full with more solicitations. Sometimes, I do wonder by what nefarious rout my information reaches the retirement fund for Mafia bosses and grave diggers – though I can see why how the two professions might be linked.
Most of the new solicitations get round filed. I have no interest in preserving the life of the tsetse fly or the Ebola virus. But even though their causes might be unpopular, some charities can continue to hope. Among us are those who have fallen so low in public esteem, like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, they will give to any charity if the contribution will reduce the tarnish on their image. (“Money Changes Everything,” by Doree Shafrir, Town&Country, June/July, 2018, pg. 91.)
Some prestigious institutions won’t cash a check if the giver’s reputation is too hot to handle. But rejection isn’t the norm. Mike Millikan, jailed and fined $600 million for securities fraud, comes to mind. His charitable work has puttied his fractured reputation together, enough that he can hobnob with his old pals with little impediment. Most people seem willing to forgive a savvy prodigal with cash. In fact, the odds of regaining one’s lost reputation are so good, a new industry has emerged; reputation laundering. That’s right, a number of public relations firms specialize in redemption. They help a “… boldface name connect with the non-profit world to [ ] restore that name after some kind of image-shattering transgression.” (Ibid, pg. 91.)
Of course, the redemption ploy doesn’t always pan out, as in the case with Weinstein and Cosby. Perhaps, their offenses are too fresh. Still, Mel Gibson continues to struggle. His checks to Holocaust-related organizations haven’t put a shine on him. (Click) As writer, Doree Shafrir, explains, it’s hard to accomplish a “do over” after 60 years of being a bigot. (Ibid, pg. 91.) Nonetheless Gibson should continue to hope. If money can’t buy love, over time, it might buy amnesia.