A Time To Give

October 8, 2009

It’s no surprise that when times get tough, one of the first ways people tighten their belts is to give less to charity, since they need the money they have for their basic necessities. Some estimates predict that charitable giving will be down 6% overall this year, and it had already gone down last year. (One bright spot to note is that organizations have noted an uptick in volunteerism, which of course costs nothing but does a world of good.)

Just one of the masterpieces at the Met

Just one of the masterpieces at the Met

If you are lucky enough to have the means to do so, now would be the time to support whatever non-profits you believe in, particularly museums. Most museums survive on donations, money from their endowment, and assistance from the government. Well, if donations are down, endowments are shrinking and local governments are slashing budgets all around, you can bet most museums are not in the best financial straits. Even the mighty Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has one of the museum world’s richest endowments, had to slash 14% of its workforce this past spring and was contemplating cutting some other programs like concerts and lectures.

If you have a particular museum locally that you frequent, become a member. If your kids like a local children’s museum, join. You’ll not only be helping them out, but usually the list of benefits, besides free admission, is truly beneficial, like discounts to the store or access to members’ only previews. Ken and I have been members of the Museum of Modern Art for a long time, and we get a 10% discount in the restaurant as well. It’s great because my kids love the sculpture garden with all its fountains, and I’m more than happy to go for 30 minutes so they can see it, since it costs nothing because we’re members. We recently also joined the Metropolitan and the Museum of Natural History, both favorites of the kids.

It’s these institutions that enrich our lives, make our cities great and give us all something worthwhile to do on a rainy day, so if you can swing it, it seems like a great place to pledge your cash. Plus most of it is tax-deductible!

Another Loss

20091007_ipenphoto_250x375Irving Penn, the longtime photographer for Vogue, died this morning at the age of 92. His work spanned several decades and was always not only beautiful, but in many ways defined what society thought beauty and style were. Click here to read about his life and legacy.


Barneys unveiled the theme of their holiday windows this year: Saturday Night Live. Could be interesting — Coneheads in Prada? I like it! You can check them out beginning November 16th in NYC. (And btw, can you believe it’s almost holiday time already? I’ll answer that: NO I CAN’T!)

Addison continues to wake me up pre-5 am. Then she goes back to sleep in my bed and I lay there, wide awake, thinking about a million things I have to take care of. Then, inevitably, I start to drift back to sleep around 6:15am and she pops up, awake for good and demanding her banana and milk. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Isn’t parenting fantastic?!

Hope you get to sleep late!


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