This is one of those things that makes me simultaneously sad and angry. I just learned that the $17,000+ raised by the Charity Auction at this year’s GenCon was to be donated to the Christian Children’s Fund in honor of the late Gary Gygax. But… Mr. Gygax’s favorite charity declined the donation because the money came partially from the sales of Dungeons & Dragons products.
Not that it will do any good, but here is a copy of the email I am sending to the CCF, as suggested by Giant in the Playground.
I am writing the Christian Children’s Fund on behalf of 724 needy children without access to food, clean water and educational programs. The CCF’s mission of hope for children, combined with its recognition for effective programs and financial accountability, keep it at the forefront of the fight against poverty.
Who are these 724 children I am writing to you about? At the $24 per month figure quoted on your website, they are the children who won’t receive food, clean water and educational support this month from the CCF because you turned down a donation of $17,398 from the GenCon Charity Auction this year. Not only do these 724 children continue to experience their poverty, but also their communities won’t benefit from CCF programs either.
Why did the CCF decline this generous donation? Ignorance, really. Some of the proceeds from the Charity Auction came from the sale of Dungeons & Dragons materials, a game based on make-believe fantasy. Does the CCF also decline donations from parents who exchange a coin for a lost tooth when their kids are sleeping? Are the purveyors of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus unfit to donate money to your charity? Is my church false because we have a safe “trick or treat” event every year in the church parking lot?
The simple fact is that thousands of perfectly normal adults came together in Indianapolis, raised $17,385 in honor of a deceased writer’s favorite charity, and had that money rejected by your organization. A slap in the face for a deceased supporter and his well-wishers is one thing, but saying, “No, we don’t have the money to help you,” to 724 impoverished children this month? That’s just disgraceful and, frankly, I don’t see it as consistent with the CCF’s mission and beliefs, such as working together “to create an environment of understanding towards all children embracing cultural and religious differences.”
I am very disappointed in this attitude held by the CCF and plan on using other, less ignorant, organizations to help fight poverty in the future.
Updated 20081102 – through further discussion in another forum, I learned of this response from the CCF to one of the people who contacted them about this issue.
Christian Children’s Fund made the decision to decline the gift from Gen Con, LLC after the review of numerous factors that in combination precluded our acceptance of the gift. These reasons include the possible misinterpretation of CCF’s role in regard to the event. CCF is selective in its endorsements or support because it must maintain the highest degree of integrity with respect to the use of its name and logo. The information presented to us gave the appearance that CCF (the organization) was an endorser or supporter of the event instead of a beneficiary.
So… at least there appears to be some reasoning behind the decision. Still, one wonders that the two sides couldn’t work through this concern? Also, if this is true, it says to me that even if the CCF doesn’t necessarily perpetuate prejudice against gamers (or D&D specifically), then they believe (correctly or not) that this prejudice is pervasive enough among their donor base to warrant the refusal of the donation. Either way, the root cause appears to be bias against gaming and the end result is less funding for the kids.