From Friday’s East Valley Tribune comes the story of Gilbert resident Heather Gray, who is “donating” her home to a charity to give away in a raffle.
I put “donate” in quotes because this doesn’t really seem like a charitable donation to me.
The plan is to sell $100 raffle tickets, ostensibly to help out what seems like a very worthwhile charity, the Murray Grey Foundation of Phoenix.
According to the Tribune, the organizers hope to get 5,000 people to donate $100 each — giving some lucky winner a 1 in 5000 shot at winning a 2200 square foot Gilbert home appraised a few months ago for “about $280,000”.
Of the $500,000 the raffle will produce, $350,000 will go to pay off Gray’s home. And some credit cards and student loans. The remaining $150,000 will go to the Murray Grey Foundation.
So, a full 70% of this raffles intake does not benefit the charity at all. It benefits Ms. Gray. It keeps her from having a foreclosure on her credit report, and most remarkably to me, helps her pay off some credit cards and student loans.
In the article, Gray is quoted as saying, “I’m not looking for any profit. I just hope to get my bills paid.”
Not making a profit? You’re asking people to donate money to a charity that won’t get 70% of the donations so you can pay off a house, some credit cards, and a student loan. In other words, you’re asking people to bail you out of financial trouble.
70 cents of every dollar donated goes to pay for your home, whatever you bought on those credit cards, and for your education. If that’s not profiting from this, I don’t know what is.
I applaud the creativity behind this —it’s different — but please don’t say you aren’t looking for a profit. You may not wind up with cash in your pocket, but having $350,000 of debt wiped out is a profit, no matter how you sugar-coat it.
I betcha the IRS considers it a profit. . .
Curiously, the web site that has been set up for this project, WantACleanSlate.com, makes no mention that I can find of Ms. Gray also having her credit cards and student loans paid off. No mention that 70% of the funds collected do not ever reach the charity. I would think that anyone who stumbles across her site would find that little tid-bit of interest.