Passing Away and Setting up Foundations

Passing Away and Setting up Foundations April 25, 2018

People die all the time. This is the inevitability of life. They have been doing it for every week of every year since time immemorial. Of course, this is a very sad reality for so many families. Dealing with death is a difficult thing for any loving friend or family of a recently deceased person. I have noticed, and this includes with two people who died and were reported on in the media this week, that one of the most common ways that people deal with death is by desiring the death not to go without meaning. In other words, they look for some kind of legacy of the life of the deceased that gives them comfort in light of the fact that, in reality, stuff happens, people die, and there is no eternal afterlife.

Setting up a foundation is a way that families can focus on something positive at a time when almost nothing, to them, seems positive. And this is a fantastic thing. The BBC discusses it here.

Now, of course, many people believe in an eternal afterlife. But even for those people, there is often the feeling that someone’s life should be of value beyond their death in this here world for as long as possible. As a result, people have a propensity to start foundations in the name of the deceased. As more and more people die every day, every week, and every year, and as we have complex societal structures that allow organisations to be set up that give meaning and purpose to someone’s life, we find that there are more and more foundations being set up.

However, foundations are essentially charities. And the amount of money donated to charity is, in all probability, fairly consistent. In economic terms, with supply and demand, we have a situation whereby the same amount of demand exists (desire to give money to foundations) with a greater supply (availability of competing foundations). There are more and more foundations being set up in people’s names so that their families can give meaning to their lives, but there is no greater amount of money being given to such organisations.

What this means is that, with every new foundation, existing organisations that might have received that money may well suffer. Charities are all vying for the same donations of citizens in society. I get the sense that there will become this unfortunates scenario whereby some poor family has lost a loved one and wants to set up a foundation and all the other foundations say, “Not another foundation! Stop stealing our custom!”

It makes me wonder how many foundations there are or were out there that don’t last a year or two, even. I imagine that people’s memories don’t last quite as long as the families who set up the foundations wish.

Anyway, there is no great point to this piece rather than out of observational curiosity. Something to think about, or perhaps not.

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