Question: Is it alright to receive donations from sources that we know are not ethical trades according to the Buddha’s teachings? E.g. Sponsorships from lottery boards and liquor companies. While their intention seems good, their sources of income are not, as they are from vices.
Answer: When, say, a gambler/bartender donates his winnings/earnings out of good will, and if it is for a good cause, it is still good in itself. However, are there expectations of advertising for donor organisations? If there has to be open acknowledgement, this can promote the unwholesome livelihoods. It is then not a good idea to accept the donations, which are a kind of paid advertising.
Note too that even if there is no open acknowledgement required, the organisations might promote themselves as being charitable to improve their image, which also ends up promoting their trades. Thus, if there are better choices of donors, they should be sought, challenging as this might be. If there is a regular sense of redemption wanted for having ‘ill gotten‘ gains from greed and delusion, perhaps such contributions should not be received too, as they might cause perpetuation of such ill trades.