Philanthropy is Always Good, But Focus on Home

George Baldwin, Opinion Managing Editor

The Notre Dame, a historic and renowned French cathedral, caught fire April 15, shocking the world. Over $800 million was raised from all over the world to pay for the repairs within a week of the incident.  

Many wealthy American citizens donated money to the French cause, but these Americans who are fortunate enough to have disposable money should donate it to the many struggling cities in the U.S. that are in dire need of help.

There are many places in the U.S. that are struggling and are not getting proper support. For such a developed country, cities like Flint, Mich. are unacceptable. Since 2014, Flint has lacked clean water after the city changed its water supply. After many pleas for help,  the residents are still struggling today, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

Local Cities close to home, like Baltimore, have seen increases in crime for many years. Last year, Baltimore had the worst homicide rate of the nation’s five largest cities, and the second highest crime rate overall, according to a March 12 Washington Post article. While these are problems that the government should deal with, it is clear additional help is needed. Even though the donations to the Notre Dame are very generous, people who are donating to the cathedral can also donate to these cities in desperate need of funds to help turn around their poor conditions. Not to undermine the cathedral’s historical significance, but no one’s health or safety is at risk because of the fire, while many in the U.S. have their quality of life greatly affected.

Big companies like Apple have also promised to donate to Notre Dame in the wake of the tragedy. Businesses based in the U.S. that mainly sell to Americans are not hesitating to donate to help rebuild the cathedral, yet many cities on the mainland struggle with homelessness, crime and poor schools all of which could use a boost in funding. Whether it’s the overall economy, quality of work or just being able to live in a pleasant location, these companies thrive in the U.S. but neglect it at the same time.

In 2017, Congress granted big corporations large tax cuts to help pay workers, spend more money on research and boost the economy. But instead, these large corporations are spending lots of money they have saved on stock buybacks, only helping themselves. From Sept. 30 to Dec. 14 last year, Apple itself spent $64 billion in buybacks, according to a Dec. 3 Washington Post article. When spending so much money for personal gain, they can definitely afford to give back to the country.

It is unreasonable to tell someone how to spend their money, even more so in regards to millions of dollars of donations, but it is undeniable that there are many places in the U.S. that need help. Sadly, the government hasn’t been able to help many places in need, or has not even attempted to. Philanthropism will be needed to help return cities back to their former glory, even if they are not as well known or iconic as the Notre Dame.