Friends, Donors, Everyone- Lend me your Matching Dollars and School Choice

The Agitator recently posted what they think is the oldest Matching Gift appeal on record... from Pliny the Younger, a Roman nobleman in First Century A.D. The graphic from the article is included below.

There are some parallels from then to now; the letter starts with a fantastic case for why a particular town should raise funds to hire local instructors, rather than send their sons to a larger municipality-

  • Students would be happier in their hometown.
  • Their parents could keep a watchful eye on them at home rather than afar.
  • Less expense!
  • He suggests that instead of paying for room, board, and other expenses (he notes that “away from home, everything costs money”) they spend those same sums they are already paying, and instead hire qualified teachers locally. You can’t argue that point!
  • By giving to the cause, parents would have a vested interest in choosing the best teachers available.
  • He even promises a ⅓ match (1:3 match in current terms) to anyone that will donate and encourages fundraising so that he can match as much as possible. Talk about Donor Enthusiasm!
  • He would have pledged a full 1:1, 100% match, but he did not trust the local fund administrators… sound familiar with some charities you know?

Perhaps of additional interest to our readers, is the case he makes for School Choice and by extension, our Lutheran schools. See his rationale:

  • Hiring is the responsibility of parents alone, rather than a municipality (aka- public school).
  • As stated before, having a vested interest (a church that supports their school, parents that choose to enroll their children) leads to the best choices available (“They shall judge; they shall select.”)
  • He does not want his money to have an influence on teacher selection; instead, he strongly wants “complete freedom of choice to the parents.”

As he states, “For myself I claim only the trouble and the expense.” This was certainly someone who was a “Cheerful Giver” and wanted to give where his heart was.

Interesting that some concepts are universal and outlive generations. And now, perhaps more than ever, we need to continue to support School Choice and fight for our schools and their needs in our slice of Indiana.

Gaius Plinus