Among the ethical issues faced by many fundraising practitioners of non-government organizations worldwide is whether or not to raise monies from people or organizations whose practices of business or sources of income are morally questionable. Donor lists or potential funders of many a development organization usually include politicians, wealthy businessmen, and members of prominent families, if not the corporations owned by them. Often, these are the “prime targets” for fundraising campaigns because of their willingness to share and further the developmental mission of these NGOs, and because of their ability to provide substantial support. While many such benefactors are praiseworthy in their generosity and in their sense of social responsibility, there are, of course, some whose methods and sources of income are morally questionable. The possibility of illicit activity in the means by which these donors make a profit and obtain their income cannot be denied. Such can range from unjust labor practices to graft and corruption, illegal drug trade, gambling operations, and the like. The question then arises of the acceptability of using such “bad money” or money raised illicitly by others, and putting it to “good use” or towards a charitable organization’s noble ends. Naturally, the Church as a charitable and fundraising institution has not been immune to such an ethical dilemma. As time and again featured by the media, prominent Church-related individuals who are involved in work for the poor have supporters and benefactors who may include those in question. Some, like the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the late Cardinal Sin, and the much awarded Tony Meloto of the Gawad Kalinga movement, are of the view that even monies from donors of ill repute can and should be received and put to good use. Others take the more conservative stance and try to avoid dependence on benefactors of questionable means and sources of income, while others conveniently turn a blind eye and will receive donations without wanting or bothering to know where these monies probably came from. This article will attempt to weigh the issue at hand using three frames of moral consideration, namely 1) cooperation with evil, 2) the appropriation of evil, and 3) the consideration of scandal. The first and third are among traditional principles in Catholic moral thought while the second is a more recently developed theory from the turn of the second millennium. All three will hopefully allow us to understand the pertinent considerations in addressing the question “Is it ethical for the Church to solicit and receive funds—to be used for unquestionably worthwhile purposes—from benefactors whose businesses or sources of income involve illicit activity?”

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