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Skewing the picture

In his Oct. 4 column, Return to old-style fundraising, Deveryn Ross paints a skewed picture of a success story in fundraising for the 21st century. Although I do not discredit the socially responsible message of A Sense of Home's campaign, it is curious to us readers that a volunteer's family connection spearheaded a $625,000 contribution to the effort.

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How do you measure success when it is merely an example of the one per cent of elite charities in Canada that control 70 per cent of the entire sector's revenue? The Health Sciences Centre's home lottery is another example with millions spent in operations and marketing, generating millions earned.

What about the 8,000 non-profits and charities in Manitoba that do not have "barely arm's length" connections with elitist funding sources? Success stories in fundraising should be attainable, real and from a grassroots perspective.

Countless agencies are struggling to raise operational dollars from nothing and are finding leaner, business-minded ways to do it.

ROBERT MITCHELL

Winnipeg

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Congratulations to the group in Brandon that raised $2.5 million to fund the patient and family centre residence at the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre. They did it by engaging those close to the project, in face-to-face meetings, with the right person at the right time, with the right case for support. This is called major gift fundraising.

The lesson to be learned from their experience is not, as Deveryn Ross says, that you can raise a lot of money and spend a pittance doing it. Major gift fundraising is complex and doesn't stop when the cheque is received.

It is supported by professional fundraising staff, who adhere to a strict code of ethical principles and standards through the Association of Fundraising Professionals. It is also supported by appropriate record-keeping, gift acknowledgment and recognition governed by policies on gift acceptance, accountability and transparency.

Professional fundraising protects donors and organizations while maximizing funds raised, contributing to a healthy and sustainable non-profit sector. Spending on staff and office support is an investment, not "big overhead."

JULIE MIKUSKA

Winnipeg

Refreshing talk

Re: Homicides swamping legal system (Oct. 1). It is refreshing to see Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal talk about the challenges of the rising homicide rate.

As a retired homicide detective, I remember when, in the late 1980s, we reached a new record of 32 homicides.

The same "growing concern" was felt by the courts, police and public then as today. We understood then that nearly half the homicides were "drug-related" but never understood that in fact it was prohibition of drugs that was causing the violence.

Certainly today we have a much clearer picture of the reasons for such violence. Many people are calling for an end to prohibition and the violence.

Take drugs off our streets; put them under our control and not the control of criminals. Then watch the homicide and overdose rates plummet over time.

BILL VANDERGRAAF

Winnipeg

Premium on well-being

In his Sept. 29 article Natural-resources riches paying off, Joel Schlesinger slams past governments in Saskatchewan for being cautious about exploiting every single natural resource.

These "socialist" governments, under the likes of Tommy Douglas, I presume were too busy creating a social democracy that placed a premium on community, humanity and societal well-being.

Schlesinger seems to scoff at this idealistic notion and deems these past policies regressive. Oh, right, I forgot. The invisible hand and trickle-down effects will cure all social problems.

Second, Schlesinger asserts that everyone in Saskatchewan is prospering from this development. Granted, pipeline workers are probably earning a respectable wage, but I would gather that a very small minority is actually gaining considerable wealth from this activity -- and for how long?

Schlesinger also ignores the notion of spillover costs, or externalities. What are the costs, environmentally and socially, of taking and leaving in the commons? Have we not learned our lessons? Is it possible for us to stop and think about the best way to secure and use these resources?

MATT HENDERSON

Winnipeg

Occupied by questions

Re: Pointed questions (Letters, Oct. 2). While I support Ross Wedlake's right to question the head of state of a foreign country, I have a few questions for him.

-- How can he justify the Palestinians' claim that the "occupied territories" reach from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea? Or does he support this claim?

-- What is the legal claim of the Palestinians? Prior to 1967, they were Jordanians by birth and nationality. Were the Palestinians not occupied by Jordan?

-- Where is the list of the mosques that were vandalized by Israeli forces? I can produce the list of the 53 synagogues in Jerusalem that were vandalized by Jordan between 1948 and 1967.

Perhaps if the mosques stopped preaching hatred and violence towards Israel and the so-called civilians in Gaza stopped shooting rockets and mortars into Israel, do you not think that there could be a chance for peace in the area?

WILLIAM MAHON

Winnipeg

Those cheeky deer

It seems to me that the agreement between the provincial government and the Métis Federation (Métis hunting rights recognized, Sept. 29) would be more viable if it had incorporated better synergies. As it is, there are already complaints that areas popular with Métis hunters are the ones most at risk of game shortages.

Surely a better arrangement would have earmarked specific hunting zones ripe for culling.

For example, out here in Headingley, we're practically unable to walk the streets without first clearing a path through throngs of cheeky deer. Any garden flower put out of doors without solid fence protection is gone in 30 seconds, thanks to these marauding rapscallions.

We would welcome some relief through the efforts of Métis hunters.

BOB HOLLOWAY

Headingley

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 6, 2012 A14

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