U2 is right to focus on advocacy

I'm concerned that readers took away from Matt Patterson's op-ed ("U2: Great music in the service of dubious charity," June 22) the perception that advocacy is an inappropriate role for charities. On the contrary, by bringing together staff, board, volunteers and community members, charities of all sizes contribute in important ways to the exchange of information and ideas that is fundamental to our democratic system. Among the countless benefits: safer roads, healthier public spaces, protections for abused women, research dollars to cure disease, more humane treatment of animals.

Donors, if they choose, are of course free to give to charities that engage solely in direct service. But like others who aim to "fix what's broken" rather than repeatedly apply band-aids, I'm supporting charities that advocate as well as provide direct help.

Martha K. Johnston, Baltimore

The writer is a principal with Pivotal Partners Philanthropy Solutions.

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