This is one of the rare ways being in debt helps the borrower

Many readers may not realize it… but Mark doesn’t pocket one cent from his role at Palm Beach. His profits are all directed toward his Nicaraguan charity, FunLimón. Its mission is to assist in economic development and provide select social services to its local Nicaraguan community. As a Palm Beach subscriber, you’re helping improve the lives of thousands of impoverished families.

But unlike most charities, Mark doesn’t just throw money at problems. Mark’s discovered unbound charity does more harm than good. It creates a sense of entitlement and selfishness. In the December Creating Wealth, Mark shares the account of Rosie (FunLimón’s operations director), who explains how a moderate charitable policy is a better charitable policy…


“Our new policy is to not give away uniforms and equipment,” she said. “We loan them instead. We loan them to anyone, adult or child, but only while they are playing within our facilities. We let them know that borrowing equipment is a privilege, not a right, reserved for those who are both grateful and responsible.

“When signing out equipment, borrowers understand that they must return everything how they found it. Any person who displays a sense of entitlement or bad behavior in any way loses the privilege to borrow our equipment.”

Furthermore, the equipment, though lent freely under these conditions, is not technically free. It is theoretically paid for by a monthly membership fee that we have begun charging everyone who wants to use the community center. The fee itself is only 50 córdobas (two U.S. dollars). The idea is not so much to recoup our costs, but to establish the idea that nothing in this world is free.

We are happy to help people enjoy our sports facility and even to lend them equipment. But in doing so, we take on the responsibility to ensure that everyone who borrows asks politely, uses the equipment carefully, and expresses their gratefulness.

This is contrary to the way most charities operate, where the underlying philosophy makes people feel that they are entitled to a certain level of privilege without putting forth anything in return. Our program not only fosters healthy recreation, but also increases responsibility among youth and adults in the area.

Since introducing our new policy, Rosie sees progress. “The kids feel ownership over the equipment. Everyone has their favorite pair of cleats, their favorite basketball—but they know these are borrowed items and they are grateful for them.”

For more information on “nondestructive charity,” read Mark’s Ten Commandments of Charity.