During retirement, most people like to engage in hobbies and pastimes, like gardening, doing crafts, bicycling, or baking. Almost three-quarters of retirees — 71%, in fact — like to read, while 53% pursue religious activities.
Few seniors, however, have spent their retirements quite like ex-Congressman John LaFalce.
Since retiring from his House seat in 2002, LaFalce has doled out about $106,375 from his campaign account to charities throughout the Buffalo, NY area, where his congressional district was located, according to a recent New York Timesprofile.
It’s not uncommon for government officials to donate to charity with funds from their campaign accounts — it makes them visible within the communities they represent, and helps support causes they believe in. But LaFalce’s history of donating stands out because of how long he has continued to give to charity — he’s been donating since he was first elected in 1974, the New York Times reports.
LaFalce typically doles out donations, ranging from $100 to $1,000, to organizations like Niagara University, the Mothers Clubs of Tanzania and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Over the last 12 years, his donating pattern has been steady except for a brief lapse in 2010.
“These are organizations whose work I appreciate or whose philosophy is similar to my philosophy,” LaFalce told the New York Times.
So how will the many Democratic members of the House and Senate who lost their seats in this year’s midterm elections follow LaFalce’s charitable example?
“Most continue to spend their leftover funds for a combination of political and nonpolitical purposes, as Mr. LaFalce does, but when it comes to charity many opt to make a small number of donations or a large one-time gift,” the New York Times article explains.
Most former congress members simply don’t have the resources in their campaign accounts to make the kinds of donations that LaFalce has made over the years. But for those that do have the resources, it’s important to give back to the community that voted them into office in the first place.