Saturday, November 15, 2008

Branch Rickey

The Rotary Club of Denver is holding their annual Branch Rickey Award Banquet and silent auction tonight. I will be attending with Auction Automations. Fun will be had by all. Last year's silent auction raised a little over $30,000 which puts this event not quite in what we would call one of our big ones, but it certainly is not one of the small ones either. And, of course, the real money is made from ticket sales. All the proceeds from the event go to Denver Kids, Inc which is a counseling and mentoring program for Denver Public School children, certainly a worthy cause.

The winner of the Branch Rickey award is Trevor Hoffman this year. Trevor is the closing pitcher for the San Diego Padres and MLB record holder for most saves. Or at least he was the closing pitcher for the Padres. It looks like he is moving on to another club via free agency. Maybe he will come to the Rockies (ha).

Why did he win the award? Well, basically because he does nice, philanthropic, charitable things with his time and money. The Branch Rickey award recognizes individuals in Major League Baseball for exceptional community service. His list of baseball and humanitarian accomplishments is impressive. I am sure he deserves the award for all the wonderful things he does with his time and money.

It looks like Trevor made 7.5 million dollars playing baseball last year. One thing I wonder about millionaires like this is what their charitable contribution plan looks like. The bible tells you to give sacrificially meaning it should be a sacrifice for yourself. You should give more than what you think you can afford. You should give like the woman at the temple who gave not out of abundance but out of true generosity. Your charitable contributions should literally hurt a little bit financially. Most people don't.

The bible also mentions a Tithe, which depending on who you are can be sacrificial, but for those of us rolling in money (like Trevor and myself), 10% of your income really does not hurt that much. Tithing is my giving strategy, but it is not sacrificial, because it does not hurt me financially. I am still giving out of an abundance, and do not truly miss the money literally or figuratively. This year, my charitable giving will be more like a tithe and a half, and I am still not close to causing myself financial pain.

My pastor told me that he and his wife are trying a double tithe... meaning 20% of their income. I do not know exactly what they make, but I assume that really is a sacrifice to their secular standard of living.

But what does Trevor give to his church? His bio lists all kinds of things he gives time and money to, and I assume he does more than is on his bio. But, the biggest monetary amount on his bio was $81,000 to the Padres Scholars program since 1995. Trevor made 7.5 million dollars playing baseball last year. I assume he made something in endorsements. $81,000 is a bit more than 1% of his 2008 salary, and he gave this amount over 13 years. So, although $81,000 dollars is a wonderful contribution and I do not wish to diminish its importance, when compared to amount of money he made over that time frame, it is pocket change. $81,000 from Trevor does not really impress me much. $81,000 from Pastor Chad and his wife would impress me a whole lot more. And if I had to, I would bet PC has given more than $81,000 to various charities over the same amount of time.

But, I appear to be picking on Trevor, and I do not mean to. The time he spends with any one of his charities is probably more important than the money he gives, anyway. As I have said before and will probably say again "money is easy". Giving of yourself is much more important than giving of your money and possessions. And it appears Trevor gives of his time generously.

And I still wonder what the charitable giving dollar amounts look like from multi-million dollar athletes and other celebrities. What they give is their business, so I probably should not even think about it. But I do.

Listen to me, I sound like Obama, picking on the rich and telling them to redistribute their wealth. I'll shut up now.

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