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Letters

Anti-nonprofit screed tars with too broad of a brush

Jeffrey Joseph’s broad-brush commentary on nonprofit organizations (“Charities need greater accountability,” July 14) seems like a scripted political attack against his adversaries.

At The Humane Society of the United States, we take charity evaluation seriously. We are highly rated by the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator and other reputable evaluators. We meet the highest standards for program-to-fundraising ratios, but like most organizations in the non-profit sector, we recognize that best practices require much more than that. The Humane Society has been rated by its peers as the most effective animal protection organization, and that’s the measure we’re most proud of.

The Humane Society provided direct hands-on care to more than 100,000 animals in 2012 alone. Our prevention work affects the lives of billions more animals. For example, we’ve worked with more 50 major food retailers to secure commitments to stop confining breeding pigs in metal cages so small the animals can’t turn around. These changes will reduce suffering now endured by 5 million sows.

As Joseph must know, there are too many 501 (c)(3)s that have no legitimate charitable purpose. There are a small number of disreputable and unethical nonprofits. The IRS should work to eliminate fraud and gross misrepresentation, and the public should be discerning about which charities it supports. But supporting the good ones is essential, since the work of nonprofit organizations is at the heart of a civil society.

WAYNE PACELLE President and CEO The Humane Society of the United States Washington, D.C.

Zimmerman verdict represents our ongoing national shame

It’s a shame that Trayvon Martin is no longer alive – who knows what gifts he may have given the world.

It’s a shame that George Zimmerman truly believed the societal fairy tale that all teenage black boys are trouble – Martin Luther King, Michael Jordan and Barack Obama were once teenage black boys.

And the grandest shame of all: that this tragedy is replayed over and over, every day in communities across the country. And those incidents don’t get near the exposure or the attention that is deserved.

Truly … a shame.

KEVIN MILLER Fort Wayne

Stutzman’s vote on farm bill was far from transparent

After reading Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s news release following his farm bill vote with the clever title of “Transparent Government Won” on July 11, I couldn’t help but think, where is this transparency? Is he looking at transparency with how the SNAP program operates? Or is the transparency on tax subsidies in favor of corporate farmers that far outweigh the benefits for family farmers?

If it’s the former, let me clarify a few points for you on SNAP. SNAP is one of 15 federal nutrition assistance programs, including WIC and school meals. According to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services, “Our mission is to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. No American should have to go hungry.”

I, for one, know how hunger affects thousands of children in northeast Indiana. I also fully support our local farmers.

So, are we meant to see this removal of SNAP as “transparent”? Or is it perhaps how the farm bill Stutzman voted on continues to favor corporate farmers, where he and 14 other congressional representatives will continue to collect subsidies funded by us, the taxpayers? He cries foul on the subsidies, yet he has collected checks from taxpayers since 1997.

JUSTIN KUHNLE Kendallville

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