St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

The Kennon & Green Foundation Issues $1,000.00 Grant to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Over the past year, the Kennon & Green Foundation has done a lot for anti-poverty, education, marriage equality, and Christian religious causes but not much in the medical area.  (Other than a personal project that culminated on March 30th, 2010, when I cut off all of my hair to donate to Locks for Love, the charity that makes…

New York Marriage Equality Law Passed

The Kennon & Green Foundation Celebrates the Passage of Marriage Equality in New York

The Kennon & Green Foundation is a big supporter of marriage equality and includes gay rights in one of the five categories to which it donates cash grants (the others being poverty reduction, education, supporting the Christian Church, and ecology, environmental, and species preservation; for more information, you can read the foundation’s guidelines). As a result,…

Marcus Wayman as a Child

The Kennon Foundation Donates $1,000.00 to The Trevor Project to Prevent Teen Suicide

A series of events happened today that led me to disclose another grant issued by The Kennon Foundation despite my usual practice of keeping gifts silent. But this one is for a cause that needs to be highlighted. It is preventable and the damage caused to ordinary families in the wake of the tragedy is beyond my comprehension.

As I was visiting my two-year-old niece today (when I came in the door, she ran up to me and asks, “Joshie?  Do you want to play with me?” so we practiced colors and putting together puzzles), my mom and I were talking about how, if something had happened to her, we wouldn’t be able to get over it.  I cannot imagine nor contemplate a loss of that magnitude.

A few hours later, as Aaron, Caleb and I were eating dinner, the television in the restaurant was tuned to CNN in the background.  I was sitting in a place where I could easily see it and the story was about the Eddie Long scandal, which continues to escalate with up to four teenage boys now claiming to have had “inappropriate” relationships with the Bishop.  A guest was talking about how pastors like Long, who vehemently fight gay rights, were responsible for a world where kids were killing themselves once they realized they were gay.  Honestly, we were talking about a lot of stuff at dinner, so it didn’t really register with me at the time, but there was a story about a young boy who had committed suicide.

A few hours after that, I was talking to my sister on the phone and the same scandal came up, and the Joyce Meyer donation The Kennon Foundation issued a few days ago, resulting in a talk about the role of culture and sexuality in religion.  I mentioned the 8th grader that killed himself from the news story I had seen earlier.  After about an hour, we got off the phone and I sat down to work.

But then, I thought, “Do kids really kill themselves because they develop feelings for the same gender?  That can’t be happening in the United States in 2010, right?”  So I started pulling news stories.

I was so unbelievably naive. This is one of those human tragedies that definitely fell into one of my “blind spots”.  In almost all cases, the bodies of these children were found by their moms, dads, and siblings.

As I sat here contemplating these individual stories and the losses suffered by these families, I decided to issue another grant from The Kennon Foundation at the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund to an organization known as The Trevor Project.  It is the nation’s only 24 hour emergency crisis and suicide prevention hot line with trained counselors to help keep gay and lesbian kids from killing themselves.  Last year, they received more than 24,000 phone calls.  That means that 24,000 times, a kid looked at a phone and started to dial the number to ask someone for help or just to talk.

Please take a moment to read the captions below each picture.  These are real people and real stories.  Real lives were ended and irrevocably changed.  These teenagers killed themselves because they were tormented for being gay.  And pastors like Eddie Long, with their culture crusades, are part of that.  Groups like Focus on the Family actively fight against school anti-bullying programs that could have saved their lives because they say they promote “the homosexual lifestyle”.

Joyce Meyer Charitable Donation Confirmation

The Kennon Foundation Donates $1,000.00 to Joyce Meyer Ministries As a Result of Her Financial Disclosure Practices

A few months ago, Charlie Munger donated $20,000+ to a man who wrote an article about lowering health care costs in the United States.  It was so excellent, Charlie wanted to support that kind of work and use it to serve as an example to others.  Like Cicero, Munger and Franklin, that is the kind of man I want to be.  Tonight, I came across an example of “good behavior” that is stellar in an industry where so many are corrupt.

Like my hero, Charlie, I am going to point it out and do something about it.  Honestly, it requires me to step outside of my comfort zone because I don’t disclose grants given by The Kennon Foundation to anyone, ever, unless I’m discussing worthy charities with my inner circle because it doesn’t accept outside donations – it is purely from money I contribute to lower my taxes and support charity in certain years. That is one of the reasons it was structured as part of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund … for privacy reasons, it makes it impossible for anyone other than the IRS to determine how much is in the foundation, who receives grants, and which causes it supports.  It isn’t a public charity and it isn’t a religious organization.  There is no fiduciary responsibility to anyone.

In fact, I laid in bed for two hours trying to determine whether or not to highlight this organization because it meant I would have to disclose the existence of the foundation in the first place and I don’t want to get funding requests. This is probably the most uncomfortable post I’ve ever penned because, as children, my siblings and I were taught that giving is private. But sometimes you need to publicly applaud someone who serves as a model for behavior.  This is one of those few times in my life where I am going to do just that in the model of Charlie Munger.  A $1,000 grant certainly isn’t a lot of money, but this is more about highlighting a point.  It’s the principal of the thing.  And due to her opposition to a specific social issue, I restricted the gift to her food banks, inner-city shelters and human trafficking ministries.