PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, DEC. 12, 2013) — It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas, and that means lots of organizations asking for your hard-earned money. Sure, you’d like to give to all, but you have bills to pay and miles to go before you stop shopping for family necessities that you can barely afford. What do you do? We offer the following thoughts as a means of answering the question.

A famous family story tells of the time my father, far from fresh from the exhausting and bone-crushing action of the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge, went into a Red Cross station in Paris and asked for a donut. The tart woman behind the counter insisted on five cents for the treat. My dad didn’t have five cents on him. They wouldn’t give him the donut. When dad finally got his discharge late in 1945/early ’46, one of the stories he shared with my mom was the Red Cross’ incredible display of close-fisted parsimony. From that moment on, she vowed she wouldn’t give another nickel to the money-grubbing Red Cross.

Imagine THE PLANET‘s surprise and delight when we saw the Red Cross high on a list of organizations to which you don’t want to make donations — if, that is, you want your money to help those in need and not pay for the inflated salaries of CEOs and bloated bureaucracies.


THE PLANET came across this information while doing some research on the web. We share it for obvious reasons but especially in the interests of social justice and as a statement against greed. Mind you, we aren’t advocating social engineering, and we realize greed will for the foreseeable future, at any rate, shall continue as the sad adjunct of humanity’s desire for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nonetheless, to each his own, and may our own share be enough.



President and CEO Marsha Evans makes $651,957 a year plus expenses.


For each dollar you give the March, only 10 cents is given to the needy.


UW President Brian Gallagher receives a base pay of $375,000 a year along with numerous expense benefits.


Pays CEO Caryl Stern $1.2 million a year plus all expenses. Her expenses include a Rolls Royce. Less than five cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.


CEO and owner Mike Curran pays himself $3 million a year. Goodwill is a catchy name. You donate to Curran’s company, and he then sells the goods for profit. He pays nothing for his inventory and pays his workers minimum wage. Zero dollars go to help anyone.


Here are much better choices for your donations:


Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 a year plus housing for managing this $2 billion organization. Some 96% of donated dollars go to the cause.


The National Commanders of each of these organizations receive no salary. Your donations go to help veterans and their families, and they support youth programs.


This group helps dying children fulfill their last wishes. 100% of your donation goes to funding trips or special requests for a dying child.


All of your donated dollar goes toward funding to help children with cancer. The children come from families with no insurance or cannot afford to pay for treatments.


All money raised goes to running the houses for parents who have critically ill children in the hospital. The homes provide parents with free housing and meals at locations near the hospital.


100% of your donation goes to help the blind, to buy hearing aids for the hearing impaired, and to support medical missions around the world. The Lions latest undertaking is measles vaccinations.

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Those of us lucky enough to have discretionary dollars for charitable donations want our dollars to go to those in need. We don’t want them to go to those who will use them to feed their greed. THE PLANET supports certain causes in anonymity, most local, and we shall keep it that way. We will not, to our knowledge, however, open the checkbook to every cause that comes down the pike, because, sad to say, too many fail to live up to the claims they make.

Donore, et caveat, emptor. 


“I think I’m ‘Going Home,’ — by helicopter.” Alvin Lee, August 1969, introducing Ten Years After’s blazing “Going Home.”




  1. Russell Moody
    December 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    I recently asked a professional fundraiser how much of my dollar would go to the ‘families of police officers killed in the line of duty. It was a very specific question and one which they are required by law to answer truthfully.

    “16% of the total gross, sir” was his reply.

    “No thank you.” I responded.

    The next time someone asks you for a donation, ask them the percentage. They are required to tell you by law.

    Good one Dan… your readers might find this helpful

    Misrepresenting the percentage of the funds raised that will be used for charitable purposes. If asked, a fundraiser must accurately disclose the percentage of funds that will go to the charity. Telling a potential donor that all proceeds go to the charity is deceptive unless 100 percent of the money raised will go to the charity.

    • danvalenti
      December 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Thanks, RUSS.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    December 12, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    “ From each according to his exploitability, to the nomeklatura according to its greed. “ a quote from David Horrowitz The Black Book of the American Left. Be careful out there with your $ donations, especially this time of year. The ratio that goes to the source is staggering (80% – 20% ) 20% usually goes to the organization , 80% to the fundraiser’s usually for high salaries and administrative costs.

  3. MrG1188
    December 12, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Totally off-topic, but then this post of yours is a bit far afield from the norm, has anyone else noticed the sudden implementation of a pay wall on the Berkshire Eagle site? You are now limited to access to a small number of stories per month before being cut off and required to pay. I sent the following letter to the editor, copying Warren Dews, and would encourage anyone who cares to do the same.:


    You guys can’t be serious, instituting a paywall for access to stories without ever even announcing your intentions first. I had seen in the trades that this was a directive of DFM Corporate, but I would’ve thought you might have had the good sense to push back on it some. As it is, the site works only about half the time, and there are literally 3 stories per day, if lucky, that are really of any interest. There is just not enough content there to justify charging for or paying for.

    Has anyone done the cost benefit analysis of impact on gross impressions you have to sell advertisers? Has anyone considered the impact on measurable results that advertisers use to evaluate future investments? Have you even told local digital advertisers of your plans to do this? It may be an interesting experiment, but I think ultimately it’s fool’s gold and that any positive revenue you bring in from paywall efforts will be more than offset, ultimately, by loss of ad dollars.

    • Roger D
      December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      When you receive that error, delete your web browser cookies, close brower and log back in. That is the work around.

      PlanetValenti, Merry Christmas! Off topic, but will any update be coming on Mr. Moore’s possible legal suit?

    • scott
      December 12, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      I noticed the other day I can no longer access the full site from a mobile device and that a .99 full access for 90 days was available. Ill just not read it. They just took my mother for over three hundred fir the year when she agreed to pay monthly for the transcript and the Eagle delivered and she cant get ahokd of anyone to reverse the transaction so shes just letting it ride. Its not really that for off the subject cinsidering the eagle is a huge charity case. Ill never give’em a red cent. Dan good for you I barly get by but I give what I can to a small local relugious organization as well. The salvation army has a larger chain if commabd and thier salaries are so low because EVERYTHING else is paid for.

      • dusty
        December 12, 2013 at 11:26 am #

        I wonder how much the Berkshire Eagles overhead costs are to run the Santa Toy Fund. Don’t bother asking. They don’t know how to give a straight answer and there is no way to check on it.

        but there is very little they do without charging as much as they can so let’s just hope the donations go where the donors intended. All of it

    • Ed Shepardson
      December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Can’t believe that you all aren’t willing to pay for the new Digital First Berkshire Eagle. You’re going to miss a lot of great features like the photos of the Eagle’s very own cookie contest held the other day in the Eagle’s very own breakroom. How can you turn your backs on these Pulitzer prize winning photo essays?

      • MrG1188
        December 12, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        ROFL…WHAT?!?! I MISSED the cookie contest?!?! and a direct dateline from the Eagle breakroom too!! Horrors!

        • Bull Durham
          December 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

          You can easily bypass the pay system. Either set your browser so that it automatically clears your history and cache every day or, if you have Google Chrome, set it on Incognito mode (Shift, Ctrl, N all held down at once) and the Eagle site doesn’t know how many times you’ve visited their site or hit on stories.

          • MrG1188
            December 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

            Yeah…I know…but it’s the principle of the thing! For that matter you can also turn on an ad blocker and do not track too!

      • Rick
        December 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

        The print edition is now $312 per year……..Won’t be long before they price themselves out of the market

  4. Tim Bartini
    December 12, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Dan. The Christian Center is also a great organization to donate to.

    • Dave
      December 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Tim, totally agree. I always take our clothes that no longer fit to the Christian Center because I know they will help a local family in need.

    • B. Clairmont
      December 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      Tim, I agree. I donate to them every year.

    • danvalenti
      December 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Agreed. A fine place that does good work.

  5. Mad Trapper
    December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    You forgot Humane Society of the United States.

    Less than 10% goes to animal welfare/shelters

    • Mad Trapper
      December 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      I give the to the Salvation Army bell ringers every time.

  6. chuck garivaltis
    December 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Dan’s main piece of the day is so interesting and important I did not want to dilute it with a sport story..Time enough has gone by for those who have wished to comment so I am going to go with my issue of the day.

    It’s bad enough the Patriots lost a game because of a pushing penalty It’s only football so don’t hit to hard

    Now it is hard to imagine this sort of pattycake now applies to baseball.If a catcher is plowed into and over by a runner comming from third trying to score a run. It seems
    this is unnecessary roughness. Little League, Babe Ruth, American Legion and high school youngsters are taught when you go for a base it is yours and if the opponent is covering the base slide, dive, or plow into him. The base is yours and you have a right to it. Major league baseball now says that is no longer true. Don’t run into the catcher or you are committing a penalty. Talk about pansy ass stuff. Many of these guys make 10 million a year and you have to treat them like a powder puff.

    Gina Davis in the movie,” A League of Their Own,” explained it best when in the female world series game in 1944 her opposing sister plowed into her and scored the winning run.because Gina dropped the ball.from the collision Gina’s response was, “She wanted it worse than I did..” How right she was.
    Major League baseball can pay their medioce players millions , but changing rules that make the game exciting will ruin the game more than the stupidity of the owners. What’s next? Probably a runner coming from first cannot break up a possible double play because you cannot interfere with the infielder throwing the ball to first for the double play. Would Sal. The Barber” Maglie be banned from baseball today because he gave to many haircuts.?

    If you play a physical game you may have to chance receiving a concussion. Are you going ban soccer because it is okay to bounce a ball off your head? How about boxing? There’s a few headknocks there..I’d bet President Gerald Ford would not be allowed on a golf course today.

    • scott
      December 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Chuck I agree the pussification is absurd but you only have the players themselves to blame as they are the ones filing lawsuits once thir careers are over and all thier money is improperly invested. The Patriots lost that game with the bs call because they failed to close it when they had the chance. Yeah it sucked but it is what it is. Im interested to see how they play without Gronk otherwise its gonna be Go Broncos!

      • chuck garivaltis
        December 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

        Good points, Scott. Right on target. Without Gronk. Pats have no shot for the title. They won’t be in the final game.

        • scott
          December 13, 2013 at 8:00 am #

          I felt the same way at first then a client raised the same pount I did and convinced me. But yeah the call sucked especially since it didnt hurt or give anyone an unfair atvantage. But the same thing is happening in football all these players are coming back and suing the league so as a corporation (a non profit to boot!) The NFL and major league baseball need to impliment rules to protect them from frivilous lawsuits. Its amazing how Bob Costas can raise the issue of gun control while ignoring the head trama and steroid abuse as well as a lifestyle of excess these kidsvare getting. And yeah theyre 30 something year old kids that lifestyle for some has to account for something but lets blame guns cause its easier.

    • danvalenti
      December 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Like you, I boiled when I saw this proposed rule change. Let’s just play the games in protective bubbles, no risk of injury, no risk of defeat, which is bad for one’s “self-esteem.” Ridiculous. The play at the plate is one of the most exciting in the game, and, like in the film, it often comes down to who wants it more.

      • scott
        December 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

        Me too Dan but you cant blame the league for coverung thier asses. The blame goes to the athletes who push thier bodies to the limits and in my opionion know exactly what theyre getting into and are more than compensated for it. The yankees just signed Jacoby for a hundred and fifty three MILLION!

        • Tom Sakshaug
          December 14, 2013 at 9:59 am #

          The money for Ells is not as crazy as the length of the contract.

  7. nota
    December 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    I used to roll a bowling ball in the gutter purposely and back into the alley, they better not ban that!

  8. Joe Blow
    December 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    The BB just posted a nice story …………3 Pittsfield highway workers suspended amid missing fuel investigation.

    • italia
      December 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      How come no names. We pay their salaries. It is not just a personnel issue, esp. being escorted out.

  9. Giacometti
    December 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    There are often mistakes made in donating to the American Cancer Society. All cancer research is done by the National Cancer Institute a federal program supported with tax dollars. The American Cancer Society is involved with cancer awareness and education and much of the money donated goes to salaries. Cancer research is what will bring about a cure. The National Cancer Institute supports research grants awarded to numerous educational institutions that do cancer research. If you want to support cancer education support the American Cancer Society but be aware that support for research is already being done with tax dollars by the National Cancer Institute.

  10. Dave Bubriski
    December 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    The Civitan Club of Pittsfield is an affiliate of Civitan International. Money we raise goes to local causes. We are volunteers. No one get a salary. Our next project this year is to prepare a Christmas meal for the elderly. We usually deliver over 100 meals. Anyone who would like to donate to Civitan or would like information about the club can contact me at

  11. Thomas More
    December 13, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    While we’re bashing the non-profits how about the Marian Fathers down in Stockbridge. What percent of the $ they bleed out of the faithful goes to the lay layabouts that can’t make in the “Dreaded Private Sector”. They occupy a very valuable piece of property down county and don’t pay a dime in taxes.

  12. nota
    December 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I’ll be giving to the LOW fund when he gets defeated for Council President by Melissa. Anyone catch LOW chomping on food during the December 10 meeting?

  13. nota
    December 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Prediction for Council President Mel Mazzeo.. Simonelli,Cotton,Morandi,Connell,Tully,Amuso!

  14. Silence Dogood
    December 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    what about the George Costanza Human Fund????

    • Russell Moody
      December 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      ha ha ha ha…

  15. Giacometti
    December 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Happy Festivus One and All !

    Remember…it’s Festivus for the rest of us !

  16. joetaxpayer
    December 14, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    You know where you can put that Festivus pole!

  17. Mr. X
    December 14, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    City Council Prez will be between JLO and Tony Sim…Mrs. Mazzeo is not interested. In football, pretty soon there will be a tackle zone from above the knees to the chest. As for the hit on Gronk, very unfortuate, but the best way to take down a big guy is to take out his legs, plain and simple. Football is a very violent collision sport, always has been and always will be. Injuries from head to toe will always happen.

  18. italia
    December 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Why no BB coverage on the incident at the Elm St. car wash last Thursday. A woman walked thru it, activating the brushes, was injured. Do not know how bad. She now is suing the new owners of the car wash. Takes all kinds.

    • joetaxpayer
      December 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      I think they should sue her for mucking up there system. Hopefully there wasn’t any damage to the car wash. There really is not enough signig to stop stupid.

  19. nota
    December 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    @Mr X ..Melissa already has announced she is running for President.

  20. nota
    December 15, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    The B B is running the story this morning, but as usual the Planet was first to show it!

  21. Kathy Lloyd
    December 15, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    How about the Giving Garden at the Church of Christ? 100 percent goes to the cause, no overhead.

    Keep your money local. Red Cross is not a good cause.

    And what the heck is “Cancer Awareness”? I’m pretty sure we all know about cancer. All of that money should go to research. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to know anything about cancer.

    • scott
      December 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Your giving garden is cancer awareness I think its great local churches are stepping up in this way. Thats what people need is more fresh vegetbles.

      • Kathy Lloyd
        December 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

        Thanks Scott. 🙂

  22. Pittsfield promise
    December 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    The United Way, regardless of actual overhead %, seems to spend way too much on useless billboard campains that harass the poor and working class. What a scam.

  23. Giacometti
    December 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Woman in car wash proves that there is no cure for stupid.