Friends have so internalized the ideal of voluntary poverty that they are ashamed to admit it when they have money.
Ten years or so ago, my meeting had a capital campaign for the renovations of our meetinghouse. Not so big by the world’s standards, but a very significant goal for us. Someone invited a locally well-known fundraising consultant who specializes in grass roots campaigns to come in to train the committee members. But few of the techniques she recommended could be used, like publicly acknowledging major gifts when they come in, because the organizers kept saying “Quakers don’t raise money like that.” (If we already knew how Quakers SHOULD raise money, why did we ask for advice?)
It struck me that no one was at all hesitant to say, “Well, we won’t ask Margaret, we all know that she doesn’t have any money since she works part-time for the AFSC…” But heaven forbid we should talk openly about the fact that George saved a lot of money from his days as a (doctor/lawyer/professor) and has invested it well and is regularly giving it away to progressive (but non-Quaker) causes.
I think this violates our testimonies of practicing equality and plain speaking.
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