BY OLIVIA FUSON
Most in Lake Oswego are familiar with the National Charity League (NCL); a mother-daughter philanthropy organization. The Lake Oswego Chapter of NCL has become a staple in the Lake Oswego community, and provided many young girls with volunteer opportunities they may not have known about otherwise. However, in truth, NCL is more of a sorority than a charity league.
Although NCL does require its members to devote a certain amount of hours to serving the community each year, it also requires that the same number of hours be spent serving the Chapter itself. While there are certainly members who go above and beyond the required number of service hours, for those adhering strictly to the membership requirements this means they spend equal time serving the community and proving their dedication to the Chapter.
These League hour events include teas, senior presentations, father-daughter events, cultural events and monthly meetings. These events are generally exclusive to members only. While they may provide closer bonds between mother and daughter, life skills, or cultural exposure, they do not aid the outside community in any way. Furthermore, NCL devotes funds to these events that could otherwise be donated to charity. According to the budget report for the oncoming year, the Lake Oswego chapter of NCL has dedicated over $35,000 to the chapter events, out of a total budget of $75,000.
Secondly, for a charity, is shockingly elitist. It is impossible to gain entrance to this organization without first being sponsored by a current member, and even then entrance isn’t guaranteed. Before being allowed into this exclusive group, a “prospective member” must first be selected and invited by the organization. According to its web page, NCL “searches for members we believe will be willing to fulfill our mission statement, which is ‘…to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.’” Prospective members are also instructed to note that membership is never guaranteed.
These selective entrance requirements are to be expected from a Sorority; an organization based on the acknowledgement of excellence, but are not usually found in an organization dedicated to the service of others. It doesn’t make sense that NCL would be rejecting applicants if its primary goal was to aid the community. It would generally be thought that the more participating in such a noble endeavor, the more that could be accomplished. By denying membership to some applicants, however few the number may be, NCL trademarks itself as an elitist organization, not one of humble philanthropy.
NCL does provide a commendable service to the community; however, it could be doing so much more. If able to contribute monetarily to the charities which it supports, it could surely have a greater impact. If NCL is to be classified as a philanthropic organization, perhaps it should devote more resources to charity than to its self-aggrandizing social events.