National Charity League Wastes Money

Ellie Poling

Every year, the philanthropic mother daughter organization, National Charity League holds a celebration in honor of their graduating class. At this event, the girls are recognized by friends and family members for their charitable devotion to the community. Although recognition of their good deeds is well deserved, an extravagant and expensive party doesn’t seem too fitting.

More commonly known as “Senior Presents” to high school students in the area, this event often takes place at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley and consists of many frivolous expenditures. The first of these of course being the venue, which by itself is an extremely expensive place to rent for the night. The money they put aside for catering as well as decorations, professional photography, an open bar and a DJ also add up quickly.

Another expense is, in true Lamorinda fashion, the color-coordinated gowns the girls get for the event. These might seem like extremities to some, but for NCL mothers and daughters, treating themselves isn’t a rarity.

The annual Teas are also an event the mothers and daughters become accustomed to over the six years in the organization. The girls get to dress up and enjoy a lovely brunch while being praised by their mother’s for the whopping 30 minimum hours of service they did the previous year. Senior Kady Richardson was a part of NCL for two years before quitting freshman year.

“Although my mom and I enjoyed being a part of NCL, in my freshman year we realized that we wanted to focus more on doing the philanthropy work we liked without the added constraint of hours of meetings and social events,” Richardson said.

Like Richardson, some girls in the program don’t like the social and leadership aspects combined with the philanthropic ideals of the group. Starting as seventh grade students, many of the girls in the league don’t realize the amount of money that will be spent on frivolous social events until they become upperclassmen.

The way the league organizes the “Senior Presents” has a lot to do with tradition which makes changing the event as big of an ordeal as the event currently is. In regards to the Senior Celebration, each mother willingly puts aside 100 dollars each year towards this special night.

With up to 30 mother daughter pairs graduating from the organization each year, assuming they have been a part of NCL for 6 years, the amount of money spent on this event would come to roughly 18,000 dollars. Even after this grand total is calculated in a class fund, mothers pay for individual rooms at the Claremont for their girls to get ready, and even stay the night in. Dinners for the guests are paid out of pocket, and so are the gowns the girls wear.

This ridiculous sum of money could easily be cut down, and the surplus could be given to one or more of the charities the league has volunteered with over the years. Instead of holding what seems to be more of a Debutante Ball to celebrate their accomplishments, a simple brunch, where speeches could still be made and praise could still be given, would suffice.

In addition to a down-scaled event, the celebration could include some sort of charitable activity in the proceedings for the night. The issue with this event might not be the Organization’s aim, but the tradition that the League has kept alive over the years can and will not change until the mothers and their daughters clarify their values.

If the girls believe that it is most important to get dolled up and show themselves off to their family and friends, that is the last thing the girls, and their guests, will remember doing as a part of the group. Although the women involved in this organization, especially in Lamorinda are fortunate enough to have the money to spend on this type of an event, it is ironic that this group can label themselves National Charity League and freely spend close to 20,000 dollars on one night. A re-evaluation of the bill for the night is necessary if the organization wants to keep their reputation for doing legitimate philanthropic work.