I am the owner of a charitable trust. The Richard Ford Charitable Trust. I prefer to call it my uncharitable trust because of my motives at the time of creating it. I was going through a painful divorce at the time (I still am in fact) and wanted to make sure that my former wife was not rewarded for her violence - and did not see why I should continue to support her as she was living with another man by this time anyway.
The only way I could do this was to give it all away - but I could not quite say goodbye to it all completely as I had worked hard for it. If I remained the legal owner then I would simply make myself a tempting target for her lawyers. I formed the trust to spite her and to move the divorce on. This is rather like the 'poison pill' defence used to deter corporate takeovers. The target company will make itself an unattractive target to the raider by selling off its most desirable assets.
Creating such a trust also allows me to strike at the root of the evil as well as avoid some of the ill effects. I decided all along that I would take a long term approach as the trust will continue to exist and grow long after my death. I am 100% invested in equities (mostly growth stocks). Only the dividends will be used while the capital will continue to grow tax free.
A charitable trust is not a charity. The only person who can pay into this trust is myself (the taxman tops up my contributions when I do) and the only people I can give it to are registered charities. My first priority was to help men who had gone through the domestic violence/ divorce meat grinder as I had. I was also aware that my own resources were really very puny when compared with the scale of the problem. Value for money was therefore very important to me. Fortunately the two factors came together in a UK charity known as the Mankind Initiative. Any charity that seeks to help men can hardly fail to be efficient as the resources available to it are so small. Mankind is run by a small and fantastically committed team that not only work for nothing but finance the charity themselves. Membership is derisory (only 120 or so) and many of these are damaged and emotionally draining individuals. There is nobody so lonely as the man who deals with a problem no one will admit exists.
Many people in my situation would see nothing but failure and defeat in this group, yet I saw a hugely capable nucleus of committed men who had created the foundations of a national movement in the face of ridicule and official disinterest. If they could do all this in such a hostile environment - how much could they do with funding? Most importantly, I had found a group of people who could make a penny do the work of a pound.
Here are some 'back of an envelope' calculations about just how much good one pound or one dollar can do.
One dollar in an unpaid non profit organization can do the same work as one hundred dollars in a government department.
One dollar put into a trust is worth at least one dollar thirty seven cents once tax relief is applied.
One dollar can be expected to become two in five to seven years if invested well.
One dollar donated will eventually bring in five dollars from the state. This is a fairly normal figure in the voluntary sector.
The provision of effective services for men will bring more men into the movement. I will assume it takes twenty thousand dollars to make an activist. This equates to an approximate doubling of the movement every five years.
Let us look and see how this looks in numbers.
$1 times 100 = $100
$100 times 1.37 = $137
$137 times 2 = $274
$274 times 5 = $1370
$1370 times 2 = $2740
In other words one dollar contributed by yourself can do as much good as our cause as two thousand seven hundred and seventy provided by the state for feminism.
I would be the first to admit these numbers are plucked from the air, but they have some reality to them. My point is that one dollar can do far more than you think it can. Imagine there were a thousand men and each were paying ten percent of their income into such a trust. The sums raised would not be vast when compared with the tax dollars the feminists spend, but they would grow each year, and continue to do so for centuries to come.
Quite honestly, I believe these one thousand men could turn the tide all by themselves. Will you be among them?