How are American non-profits able to get donations while the war in Ukraine rages?

A money manager friend recently attended a charity fund-raising dinner in Palm Beach. The beneficiary is a liberal arts college in the Northeast. If they reach their goals, the Second Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be able to hire a second assistant and the Office of 2SLGBTQQIA+ Allyship can get some gender-neutral Steelcase chairs. No doubt these are worthy objectives, but why are donors giving anything all when there are millions of Ukrainian refugees who need assistance? (One of our loyal readers is housing 7 Ukrainian relatives in his house in France, for example; they can get health care and education, but “no hope for housing, they go into the general multi-year queue for social housing.” (as in the U.S., the French think that housing is a human right, which is why some people get taxpayer-funded houses, but it is not enough of a human right that the French are motivated to tax themselves sufficiently to build sufficient taxpayer-funded housing).)

Speaking of Palm Beach, here are some photos from a recent trip to The Breakers where a friend was paying $2,000 per night for “a tiny room” that afforded “glimpses of the ocean.” It seems that $2,000 is the new $500 because that was the room cost in all previous years.

At the entrance we learn that if you tip the valets sufficiently, even the simplest rental Chevy can occupy pole position:

The beach in Palm Beach is crummy compared to what we enjoy in Jupiter, with heaps of rocks dumped on the sand to prevent erosion:

A cold front with thunderstorms had just rolled through, so the beach and pool were mostly empty:

Although there are no homeless encampments, visitors from San Francisco should still feel right at home:

For $2,500 extra per day, you can rent a pool-side day-use room with attached bathroom:

Back inside the hotel, a wedding takes shape:

(Note that, statistically, the more money that is spent on a wedding, the higher the probability of a subsequent divorce lawsuit.) The other big event in the hotel that night was a black tie ball raising funds for a nearby hospital (already on the 20-percent-of-GDP gravy train).

I wasn’t sorry to leave. Palm Beach is a nice island (literally), but almost any path in or out goes through some depressingly impoverished neighborhoods. In Jupiter, by contrast, you can go from the ocean to Interstate 95 and beyond without encountering anyone unable to pay $1,500 per month for an apartment. It’s presumably nice to be rich enough to afford a $50-100 million house (“brokers fear they may run out of mansions to sell”; “We’re now seeing $50 million transactions on almost a weekly basis.”) that is occupied only 2 months per year, but I wouldn’t want to be regularly reminded of How the Other Half Lives. Maybe the answer is that the residents of Palm Beach never actually leave the island (until it is time to catch the G650 at KPBI), but send servants out for supplies that are available only in West Palm.

34 thoughts on “How are American non-profits able to get donations while the war in Ukraine rages?

  1. As you note, serious donations always benefit the social circles of the Woke Industrial Complex.

    How are Ukrainian lawn signs doing in the U.S.? After shelling out $2,000 for a 2SLGBTQQIA+ fund raiser, perhaps there is room for a $20 lawn sign, effectiveness guaranteed:

  2. Some of those guilded age Fl*rida hotels are haunted. The lion kingdom doesn’t see weddings anymore. It only sees future divorces. Whoever took those photos must be 8 ft tall.

    • Rooms at that hotel ( ) are mostly sold out for the next few weekends and there is a 3-night minimum, but I found a basic room for April 8-11 at $2,056.03 including breakfast. So it’s a way better deal than any of the Palm Beach hotels!

  3. I visited the Breakers as a kid (12 years old?) when my dad took me, my brother, and mom there while he attended a medical conference. It was definitely an experience. I remember we ate an all you can eat brunch at the hotel with a colleague’s wife, and my little brother wanted to take a sweet pastry “on the road” so to speak and my mom asked the waiter if it would be alright. The waiter said no it is not allowed to take food with you, and the colleague’s wife argued with the waiter, asking him what was the big deal, it’s just a child, etc… my poor mother was embarrassed. I guess after paying who knows how much for the brunch everybody was a little miffed.

    I also remember they had an old-school elevator in the Breakers, where a guy would wait in the elevator (the elevator operator) and ask you which floor, and then close the gate and turn some wheels or something, and take you to your floor. It reminded me of the black bellhop in the movie “Under the Rainbow”, who would also operate the elevator. That movie was great but so un-PC for this day and age (makes fun of little people, asians, germans, italians, basically everyone!). Ze Pearl is in ze River! If you haven’t watched it I recommend it. Carrie Fisher was at her peak hotness at that time and showed a lot of skin.

    • I should do a separate post on the Ukraine situation. What confuses me the most is that we say we hate inequality yet we’re going to give 100,000 Ukrainians who ran away the usual basket of the American welfare state (free housing, free health care, free food, free smartphone; a “refugee” is entitled to all of the welfare programs that a native gets) while we give nothing to the Ukrainians who chose to stay and fight. Not only do we give them no money, but they have to incur the risk of being killed at any moment. And then there is a middle ground of Ukrainians who ran away from the war and are in Europe. We also give them nothing. How can this be fair if we love equality and hate inequality?

    • …and don’t forget Yemen. The last figure I saw is 377000 dead, of whom 70% are children.

    • With at least 20,000 Ukrainian civilians dead in just one small city of Mariupol in few weeks of Russian aggression war in Ukraine is set to beat Ethiopian numbers if it continues for another year or so, on borders of United Europe.

    • One can surrender Mariupol after 100,000 casualties or right now. Finland has given up small territories in the 1940 winter war to Stalin, was never a NATO member and has been left alone ever since.

      This of course is never mentioned because we all want a good old fashioned proxy war that will destabilize Russia. And Ukrainian/Western oligarchs want the oil and gas.

      The winter war was bad, this war is bad, but at some point the population has to ask for whom they give their lives. I have seen a documentary about Donbass being shelled since 2014. The people are dirt poor and it does not matter to them whether the resources are stolen by Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs.

    • > One can surrender Mariupol after 100,000 casualties or right now. Finland has given up small territories in the 1940 winter war to Stalin

      Obviously it’s up to the Ukrainians to answer if they want to give up or not, not anyone else. You’ll note that they could have heeded Russia’s brotherly call at any point since 2014, yet they did not. Donbass and Crimea had to be taken by military force.

      The Ukrainians probably remember quite well the cost and purges coming after previous military defeats (1921 Soviet invasion of Ukraine, followed by extensive destruction and Sovietization of Ukraine, Holodomor etc).

    • > Obviously it’s up to the Ukrainians to answer if they want to give up or not, not anyone else.

      I agree, but 3.9 million have already decided to leave to the EU (I would have done the same). It is also up to the EU to decide whether to take more refugees or give more military aid to prolong the proxy war.

      In the worst case outcome (Yanukovych is installed again), would there be a Holodomor? There wasn’t until 2014. Anyway, taking over the whole Ukraine seems elusive for Russia now.

      Ukraine has been treated badly by the Western neocons, who have given Ukraine false hope. The war is yet another “success” in the line of installing the Shah in Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the second Irak war.

    • > In the worst case outcome (Yanukovych is installed again), would there be a Holodomor?

      In order for Yanukovich to not be ousted as soon as the Russian peacekeepers leave, Ukraine would have to be “pacified” into submission. How do you think that could be done, if not through extensive destruction of the current ruling elite, forced disappearances, deportation, violence and mass rape ?

      > Ukraine has been treated badly by the Western neocons, who have given Ukraine false hope

      In what sense is that hope false ? Do you think those neocons never honestly meant it for Ukraine, like they meant it for Eastern Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states ? Why would they mean it honestly for those but not for Ukraine ?

      Or is that in the milder sense they honestly meant it, but didn’t do it fast enough, as Russia started what they hoped would be a 1956-like vassal pacification ?

    • Anon, “One can surrender Mariupol after 100,000 casualties or right now.” By this logic Russia should surrender to NATO now to avoid committing atrocities and stop loosing over one thousand soldiers killed and wounded daily to rag-tag Ukrainian forces and many more in the future.

    • > In what sense is that hope false?

      The eastern NATO expansion up to the Baltic states came at a time when Russia did not care that much. After the 2014 revolution in Ukraine (with neocon presence!) Putin made it very clear that it is now a red line for him.

      Nevertheless, NATO and neocons kept being adamant about Ukraine NATO membership in public all the time from 2014-2022, while in private they probably had already given up. Zelensky talked about Ukraine getting nuclear weapons right before the invasion in February.

      Many people believe that Ukraine has been led into a proxy war, hence the “false hope” statement.

    • Anon, per you logic expressed above related to Ukraine and Russia, if Russia really thinks it protects itself from NATO and looking at lackluster fighting performance of Russian military in Ukraine against semi-armed adversary without any strategic weapons and with very little aviation and tactical arms that has incurred large Russian military and Ukrainian civilian casualties, why would not Russia surrenders to NATO proactively, avoid large military and civilian calculates, and enjoy Apple/ Starbucks / woke brainwashing? To keep peace and safety in Russia, that’s the goal you and Russian state TV assert.

    • Annon 2: This kind of intransigent and accusatory “thinking” is why I would not like the Ukraine in the EU.

    • @ Anon 2

      My guess is that Russia really wants to at least control Crimea as a naval base. Along with a land bridge (which includes Mariupol, even if its rubble). Without that they will have to hope there is global warming to reduce the artic sea ice.

      from wiki, Ukraine was making noise about Crimea last year at this time,

      “On March 24 (2021), Zelensky announced Ukraines intent to take back Crimea, mentioning among others military means.[109] The next day Russia sent troops to the Ukraine border.[110]

    • Paul, last year Russian controlled Crimea and Sevastopol. Since Russia needs Sevastopol military base to confront NATO how is your version of Russian strategy relevant to my suggestion of Russia capitulating to NATO to keep peace in the region?

    • @Annon 2

      I don’t think Russia wants Crimea in order to confront NATO. But they do want Crimea so that they can at least float some ships and subs around and not be landlocked. Same with Ukraine really. News said that Ukraine cut off water supply to Crimea so they weren’t messing around. And since neither party can resolve the dispute with diplomats and politics, the next step is military. Even if the whole thing turns into a train wreck for both countries.

    • Paul, if Russia does not want to defend from and thus confront NATO, opposite of what Russian propaganda asserts, Sevastopol’s and Crimea role for Russia is only sacral as in sacred land of loosing to British/French/Turkish forces in 1854, Wehrmacht in 1942 and proactively sinking own military Black Sea fleet of ships of the line and battle-cruisers in 1918/1919 after lackluster sea action against the only Austrian battle cruiser that made it to the Black Sea in WWI – Russia has larger ports on the Black Sea shore. Same as Sevastopol, all outer navigation is subject of NATO member Turkey, which controls the Dardanelles, benevolence.
      And Russia annexed Crime militarily in 2014, before Ukraine cutoff its water, so Russia chose militarily intervention first

    • @ Annon 2

      Checking the wiki,

      “The port is one of the few warm deepwater ports available to Russia in the Black Sea.

      Russia won’t want to give that up, as the history of Russia includes striving for warm water ports. With Britian and France actively trying to bottle them supporting the Ottomans, such as Crimea War (1850’s).

      With a “neutral” Urkaine they can at least control Crimea and float boats around the black sea. With a NATO Ukraine, Russia is vulnerable to being landlocked at least in west.

      The flip side is a “neutral” and “disarmed” Ukraine is vulnerable. So its hard to imagine how this shakes out.

    • Paul, I really do not want to have the last word here but congrats, you annoyed annon.
      “one of few” does mean “the only” or “the largest”. It is like Canadian “Port of Halifax is one of few ports on North American North East coast”, New York/New Jersey Port Authority being the largest port on North American North East. Russia has larger ports on Black Sea not – contested Russian coast.
      Anyway, Sevastopol is not a true warm water port, sometimes it may freeze in the winter. And Black Sea bottlenecked entrance is already controlled by NATO member Turkey and its shores have two other NATO members – Bulgaria and Romania, Romania being the closest to Crimea, definitely an anti-sip missile flight away.
      So Sevastopol is endangering Russian military ships but making it potential targets for technically superior NATO weapons. I still only see proactive Russian surrender to NATO as the only viable option to keep peace. And this is the only way for Russia to deal any real damage to NATO, by getting no-visa status in EU and sending economic refugees there.

    • Annon 2 ,

      Link below is an older article. NATO expansion can theoretically cage the Russian Bear, and the Russian Bear doesn’t want to be caged and is now making a horrendous mess. In terms of Grand Chessboard ( geopolitics book I haven’t read ), then Ukraine might be the Queen.

      Russia would presumably prefer to control much more than Crimea more but its military is now proving to be much weaker and run down than expected, particularly when faced with any degree of western military support for Ukraine. So it may have to settle for a (smash) and grab of whatever it can grab. Such as a land bridge to Crimea. I have a feeling they will fight tooth and nail for at least that.

      As for Turkey / NATO, I am sure Russians are irritated about that. Russia has some history of wanting to sack Istanbul but the European powers have intervened to prevent that.

      Mar 1, 2014,10:34am EST
      5 Things You Should Know About Putin’s

      1. What Is Crimea?

      2. Why Russia Wants It
      Put simply, without a naval base in Crimea Russia is finished as a global military power.

  4. Regarding the woman in the purple bathing suit: While being dropped in the water would be hazardous to her phone, I am assuming it wouldn’t be hazardous to the other swimmers. Is that because phones operate on DC?

    • @ScarletNumber: It’s not so much the DC it’s the relatively low voltage and power of the devices. The 5000 mAh battery in my Samsung operates at just 3.86 volts. For comparison, most car electrical systems run on 12 volts DC. Human skin has a natural resistance of some low voltage, I think up to about 20 volts and it’s pretty difficult to get a shock, even when wet and/or grounded. So it’s quite difficult (almost impossible) to get a shock from a cellphone battery. You’re probably more likely to get burned if the battery is manufactured wrong, shorts internally, and then catches on fire!

      On the other hand, my Ford Escape Hybrid has a High Voltage battery that operates at 300 Volts DC and if you get yourself across the terminals somehow, it can and will kill you. That’s why EV manufacturers go to great lengths to isolate their high voltage DC systems from the rest of the vehicle, even in an accident, with all kinds of monitoring and fusing. In some ways DC is even more dangerous than AC in the 60 cycle range (like home power outlets) because it will cause your muscles to CONTRACT and then not release, whereas at least with 60-cycle AC power your muscles “twitch” and might let you “let go.”

    • @ScarletNumber: Which is why, if you’ve ever been accidentally shocked by an old-style home 110VAC/60Hz outlet, it felt like you were “pulsing” or like a vibration. Modern GFCI outlets are designed to prevent even that from happening. Uncle Fester is chagrined.

    • Tony: Not yet! We’ve been to Lion County Safari, which is awesome, down in Wellington. And the Naples Zoo. And the science museum that is right next to the zoo in West Palm. So we’re overdue!

  5. My dad’s company took him and his new wife to a weekend at the Breaker’s in the 90s. My step mom still talks about it. She ordered toast. A knock on the hotel door. Their stood a waiter in whites with a toaster and fresh bread.

    He comes in and sets up the toaster and toasts it for her in room. Would you like butter ma’am? Yes please. He butters it hot.

    Not sure if that’s worth $2000/night but sounds like epic service.

  6. “…we’re going to give 100,000 Ukrainians who ran away the usual basket of the American welfare state… while we give nothing to the Ukrainians who chose to stay and fight….”

    It’s clear that certain Western powers (rightly IMO) are providing every kind of support, short of regular forces, to Ukraine, but, although the Ukrainian President hinted it, no-one is going to go into all the details: look at the toys flying out of the pram when Hunter’s Dad suggested that the world would be better without Vlad the Invader in charge at the Kremlin. That $13.6B signed off the other day will buy more than a few hammers even at Pentagon prices.

    • /df: That’s a good point, but in theory the American $$ are going for weapons, right? The Ukrainians who are on the ground fighting won’t get any cash from this, will they? And certainly not a lifetime of free housing, health care, food, and smartphone!

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