Donations with dividends, like cruises and puppies

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By Deborah L. Jacobs, reporter, The New York Times |

Concerned about how the deepening financial crisis would affect its Oct. 17 fund-raiser and auction, the Helen Hayes Awards, a nonprofit organization that supports Washington theater, sent a letter the week before the event to supporters who had not yet responded to the invitation. It urged recipients to engage in “wholesale therapy” at the auction by bidding on exotic vacations and experiences that would build casino lifelong memories for their children.

A Russian Dream package that included two business-class tickets to Moscow, an eight-day luxury cruise on the Volga River and three nights at a five-star hotel in St. Petersburg, valued at $20,568, went for $10,000 at the live auction.

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