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Christmas Cheer The Almighty Buck

Child's Play Approaches Half a Million Dollars 87

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-in-there-now dept.
SecureTheNet writes "Created by Penny Arcade, the Child's Play Charity gives all toy and monetary donations directly to hospitals for distribution to sick kids. There are NO administration fees taken. As the holidays approach, the donations are approaching half a million dollars!"
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Child's Play Approaches Half a Million Dollars

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  • Courtesy Link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skald (140034) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:30AM (#14284706)
    As a token of gratitude for such fine charitable work, I think it'd be nice to put a link to Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] itself in the story. :-)
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:33AM (#14284712)
    No load charity is a wonderful thing. The current model of huge organizations with powerful overheads taxes donations. If you consider the actions of the administrators of charity, they're much like a program in numerous ways. I'm not saying that eliminating administration can be perfected (you need audits, and program adjustments along the way), but a higher efficiency model would be welcomed. Bureaucracies tend to grow until they suck away the intent of charitable organizations. Some are far more efficient than others.... but in a future world perhaps more of contributions gets to the need, rather than the machine that services the need.
    • I am not overly familiar with the tax laws in the US, but I believe it is possible to write off donations against tax. In this case, it would be possible for a company to fund the administration of a charity at zero cost (the money that would go to the charity would otherwise have gone to the government). With the administration overheads covered, all other donations would go directly to the causes. It may be that this is what PA are doing, or it may be that the administration work is all done on a volun
      • by BrynM (217883) * on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:23AM (#14284959) Homepage Journal
        but I believe it is possible to write off donations against tax. In this case, it would be possible for a company to fund the administration of a charity at zero cost
        INACPA (I'm not an accountant)... It would take the employees to file their yearly loss (because of hours "worked" at the charity instead of a job) as a charitable write-off because a charity (or other non-profit) cannot contribute to itself. Most donations that can be written off in the US have tangible value (cars, money, food), so writing off an employee's loss of income would be near impossible since it has no tangible value. Your company might be able to "donate" you to a charity and write off your salary though I bet.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This isn't really no administration cost charity. There is an unrecorded contribution of professional services by Penny Arcade; the administration and overhead is not without cost, but Penny Arcade is contributing those services which do, strictly speaking (by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) have a monetary value and should be recorded as income and as expense.

      You as a contributor may not care as long as you know that 100% of your contribution is going for the program's purpose.

      Many (though not al
    • Cost in volunteer time - if there's a website - somebody built it. Volunteering is fine if a couple of hours a week but what if it needs 2 years full time work? I think volunteering is crucial and can work but often you require some paid staff to make critical things happen. I don't think the big charities are an evil conspiracy - maybe research what their model is.

      An interesting organisation is the Royal National Lifeboats Association [rnli.org.uk] in the UK - all the ship crew are volunteers, these are the guys who sav
  • Paypal (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Quite a lot of the donations come in via PayPal, so the article isn't quite accurate: There are no administration fees except what PayPal skims off each transaction.
    • Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mfh (56)
      I'm surprised PayPal accepts donations for PA. Remember when PayPal shut down the SomethingAwful.com Katrina aid drive [somethingawful.com] without so much as a consideration for the victims? I thought their response was that PayPal doesn't support charities? Or was it a conflict of interest with one of the major charity groups that PayPal is contracted with?
      • Re:Surprising (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Given PA's general level of planning and professionalism (No, that's not sarcasm. Really. I promise.) I would guess that they actually contacted PayPal and cleared everything with them before going ahead with anything. I believe SomethingAwful.com just put up an account and had people donate, which raised a bunch of red flags with PayPal. SA could have gotten their money back eventually, but they were in a hurry (understandable, what with people being immediately in need). Child's Play, on the other hand, h
    • Re:Paypal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Bitman (95493) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:07AM (#14284856) Homepage
      Considering that donations go directly to hospitals, you could also say that it puts an extra burden on the hospital workers themselves. Last year PA tried to do all they could to help organize the huge flow of donations that came in, this year each hospital has to do it themselves. I'm not saying this is entirely a bad thing, but there is after all a reason "administrative fees" exist: that labor has to come from somewhere. Now, people living full-time off the mere organization of supposed "charity" work is one thing, but bringing a couple people in to move boxes around so that the people you're donating to don't have to do extra non-sick-children work, that's worth a bit of an administration fee.
      • Re:Paypal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grommit (97148)
        You can (and many people have) volunteer to help the individual hospitals deal with the deliveries. Also, children's hospitals are very used to getting large quantities of toys delivered since there are quite a few charities that do this sort of thing.
      • The hospital I worked at had full time employees that did this stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You Ignorant fucks!

    The video game indsutry is solely responsible for every bad deed done
    by anyone under 21! The Video Game "community" are all hethenisitic
    dyke liberal gang members!

    The Japanese are doing far worse than they ever did to us at Pearl Harbor
    allowing this godless filth onto our hallowed land! Kids are helpless to
    resist the lures of these MURDER SIMULATORS! I will sue every gamer and
    game maker on the planet to insure my religious beliefs are upheld and to
    ensure that no parent ever have to take an
  • Ah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by SamSim (630795) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:30AM (#14284994) Homepage Journal
    Fifty-Million-Penny Arcade!
  • by mliu (85608) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:02PM (#14285178) Homepage
    It's pretty weird that there's another charity that does almost exactly the same thing as Child's Play. In fact I can't really see any difference other than the fact that Child's Play has the publicity associated with Penny-Arcade.

    I first read about this other one because Microsoft made some sort of a large donation to it recently. Apparently it's been in operation since 2001 however, incorporated in 2003.
    http://www.gaming-age.com/news/2005/12/2-3 [gaming-age.com]
    • Child's play is a little different. I read the site you linked and it looks like Microsoft donated nothing but games.

      The Child's Play charity gives entertainment gifts in general, including books and movies (educational ones too, there is a book on the amazon list about Sir Cumference and the Order of Pi I think, I love that title).

      Although there is a gaming theme, the purpose of Child's Play is not directly gaming, but helping sick children play and have fun.

    • by ebuck (585470) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:53PM (#14285854)
      Not unusual at all.

      If you look around, there's a lot of charaties that perform similar functions. Sometimes they target the same demographic group, sometimes they are bound by the same activity, sometimes they are tied to the same organization.

      For example, there's more than one charity that caters to childern in hospitals. Toys for Tots, Child's Play, Get Well Gamers, Candlelight Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation, and The Shriner's Organization. Apologies to those I've missed, as I can not even begin to list them all.

      There's more than one charity that appeals to a particular activity. Runners can attest to every race being tied to one charity or another, the organization coordinating the race basically survives and coordinates the race by taking a small cut from the charity proceeds. It's not illegal or unethical, as few runners will pony up charity money un-prompted but most will not gripe about an entrance fee if a portion is going to promote public goodwill. Bingo is a simliar activity driven revenue source for charities, with bingo parlors happily donating a protion of the earnings to charaties to offset ill will towards gambling in the community, and the players love it as they can soothe their losses by knowing that some of the money went to a good cause. I know of bingo parlors in Texas where every game donates to a different charity.

      Organizations are another binding agent in the distribution of charity money. If you donate to your alma mater or local college / university, you often can put stipulations on the donation which effictvely makes the organization a multi-charity. One example is to specify that the dontated money is to only be spent on the library, or the departement of Biology, etc. The US Goverment also accepts charity money under such circumstances, and have a departement to distribute charity funds to the correct recipients. I have known a few people who have placed clauses in their wills to have their assets forwarded to paying off the national debt.

      So it's not a great travisty to have identical, or near-identical charities competeing in their various arenas. Without competition, even in charaties, they would soon fall prey to the problems inherit with any monopoly. For charaties, that would spell beaurocratic processes for donation, department-based "kingdom building", excessive administration, and less of the donation arriving to its intended recipient.

      Be glad you have a choice, one day you may find that a charity is very inefficent in distributing funds, and you might consider changing charities to another that still fulfills your wishes, but is ran by someone else. Consumer reports did a published study of charity comparison, and it was shocking to see how some squandered over 60% of the funds in (mis-)management of the distribution of such funds.

      There's an excellent description of the problem at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/personal-financ e/charity-watchdogs-1205.htm [consumerreports.org]

      And if you want to donate, http://www.charitywatch.org/ [charitywatch.org] is useful in separating out the dogs from the winners.
    • I say, what really differentiates these two charities is that Child's Play allows you to buy stuff on Amazon.com, which will be shippped directly to the Children's Hospital of your choice. For me, that is much easier than setting up a PayPal account to be able to donate to Get-Well Gamers.
  • And he's pissed you're not donating!
  • just suprised (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fonephux (204913)
    Doesn't seem like to many of you have a very positive attitude about this.. I think its awsome.. they did a wonderful job their first year and I believe this is their 3rd year doing it. just so you know there is a team of people who manage the childs play charity, not just one person lol. Its definately a worthy cause, and there are certainly thousands of other charities who are also worthy of your dollar. But theres certainly no reason to knock them for doing something that will really cheer some of these
  • Question (Score:3, Funny)

    by sharkey (16670) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:29PM (#14285726)
    Does that figure include "Jack Thompson's" donation?
  • by fa1uzure (808743)
    A campus club(Kult of Gaming) I belong to at WLU in Waterloo, Ontario was doing fundraising for this charity. I don't know the total amount we raised, but we got the creater of VGcats to come out and do a signing for childsplay, where the profits went to the charity, yesterday.
  • This is a little somethign that'll also piss off Jack Thompson. Good show, guys.
    • Some of you seem to either not take this seriously, or have decided to bash it, or joke about it. What the hell are you doing for kids with terminal diseases and disorders this holiday season? Anything? I doubt it. While I don't agree that video games are the answer, it's not just video games/systems that are being donated, so stop generalizing it. If I were a little boy dying of cancer stuck in a damned hospital bed for Christmas and someone gave me a free GBA to play with, I'd be estatic and thankful. So
      • If anything the comment you replied to was meant to be 'Funny'. Chill out, douchebag, everybody knows Child's Play is a good thing. One of the motivations for its creation was to show gamers are decent, normal people, who care about others; and as a big 'fuck you' to Jack Thompson and people like him who think they're just deviates training to blow people up by practicing on their consoles.

        It probably does get under his skin on some level, and, as long as the kids still come first, I can't see anything wron
      • Jack? Is that you, trolling on Slashdot?
  • We are not poor, and have health insurance, but we were a small recipient of something like this. My 3 year old daughter had her shoulder dislocated in a playground accident. Not too big a deal - just needed to be reset and take it easy for a week. However, the X-ray machine was incredibly scary for her. We finally got her to hold still when the hospital staff got a teddy bear from some toys for sick kids (sorry, I forgot the name), and I stayed in the room. (Just one dose for me is not as bad as multi

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