We frequently make our gifts conditional on the giving of others, not because we wish to force people to do their duty, but because we wish in this way to root the institution in the affections of as many people as possible who, as contributors, become personally concerned, and thereafter may be counted on to give to the institution their watchful interest and cooeperation. Conditional gifts are often criticized, and sometimes, it may be, by people who have not thought the matter out fully.
Criticism which is deliberate, sober, and fair is always valuable and it should be welcomed by all who desire progress. I have had at least my full share of adverse criticism, but I can truly say that it has not embittered me, nor left me with any harsh feeling against a living soul. Nor do I wish to be critical of those whose conscientious judgment, frankly expressed, differs from my own. No matter how noisy the pessimists may be, we know that the world is getting better steadily and rapidly, and that is a good thing to remember in our moments of depression or humiliation.
To return to the subject of the Benevolent Trusts, which is a name for corporations to manage the business side of benefactions. The idea needs, and to be successful must have, the help of men who have been trained along practical lines. The best men of business should be attracted by its possibilities for good. When it is eventually worked out, as it will be in some form, and probably in a better one than we can now forecast, how worthy it will be of the efforts of our ablest men!
We shall have the best charities supported generously and adequately, managed with scientific efficiency by the ablest men, who will gladly he held strictly accountable to the donors of the money, not only for the correct financing of the funds, but for the intelligent and effective use of every penny. To-day the whole machinery of benevolence is conducted upon more or less haphazard principles. Good men and women are wearing out their lives to raise money to sustain institutions which are conducted by more less or unskilled methods. This is a tremendous waste of our best material.
We cannot afford to have great souls who are capable of doing the most effective work slaving to raise the money. That should be a business man’s task, and he should be supreme in managing the machinery of the expenses. The teachers, the workers, and the inspired leaders of the people should be relieved of these pressing and belittling money cares. They have more than enough to do in tilling their tremendous and never fully occupied field, and they should be free from any care which might in any wise divert them from that work.