We Did It!
Foolanthropy 1999

By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)

(Jan. 31, 2000) -- We did it, folks. We trounced the amount of money we raised last year for charity. We more than tripled it, in fact. Our 1999 Foolanthropy drive exceeded our expections by a wide margin. Together we raised a lot of money. A lot. More than three-quarters of a million dollars! Here's the scoop:

Foodchain:                      $173,767
Grameen Foundation USA:         $185,500
Heifer Project International:   $278,220
Make-A-Wish Foundation´┐Ż:         $75,920
Polycystic Kidney Research:      $49,343

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS:            $762,750
Note that I used the word "together" earlier. This is a point that I hope isn't lost on anyone. It's not that the Fool as a company contributed all the greenbacks above. Not at all. This is the product of us all working together. An online community of people, most of whom have never met, working toward a mutually agreed-upon goal. Our grand total is the result of thousands of individuals chipping in whatever they could afford or wanted to contribute. Assuming you gave at least a little, you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that our total would have been smaller without you.

For the record, though, the Fool as a company did contribute a bit. We promised a $10,000 contribution to the organization that received the most support from our readers. That turned out to be Heifer Project, so their total above includes 10,000 smackers from the Fool. In addition, between our "Here's My Two Cents" campaign and FoolMart's offer to contribute a percentage of its December revenues, the Motley Fool is kicking in an additional $14,051, which will be evenly distributed among the charities, so that they receive $2,810 each.

It's useful to note that the impressive amount of money we raised isn't the result of the Fool convincing its readers to jettison their usual charitable giving and to give instead to our featured organizations. Most of us, I suspect, continued to give as we usually do. We just responded to the Foolanthropy drive by giving a little more. A little extra. And by banding together, all our extras amounted to a heck of a lot of money that should do a lot of good in the world.

What exactly will our money do? Well, we'll be keeping you updated once or twice throughout the year. Click here to read our initial descriptions of the five featured charities and about what they proposed doing with the money we contributed. Consider Foodchain. We asked them what they'd do with $100,000 and they told us. They're getting more than $170,000, though, due to the generosity of our community. Here's what the difference might mean: Foodchain currently has about 20 community kitchens in operation. They'd hoped to open 16 more with our money. Now they may be able to open 27 more, more than doubling their current operations. With a $5,000 contribution, they can usually parlay that into $125,000 of donated food. Well, it might be more like $8,500 turning into $212,500 of food. Foodchain had hoped to increase the amount of food they rescue each year by 50 million pounds with our help. That might become 85 million pounds. Wow.

The Grameen Foundation USA had said that with $100,000, they could give annual loans to 200 international borrowers and 30 domestic ones. But since they're getting more than $180,000, it may be more like 360 international borrowers and 54 American ones -- each year. Heifer Project International, receiving more than $275,000 from Fools, will be able to supply needy families around the world (including in the U.S.) with 2,300 goats or pigs. Or 1,100 buffalo. Or 9,000 packages of bees. Or 4,500 groups of trees. Or 14,000 batches of geese or chickens. Wow.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation will be able to grant the wishes of more than 15 children with life-threatening illnesses. This might not seem like a lot, but when you think about it, each dream come true for a loved one is sort of priceless. And finally, the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation will be getting roughly $50,000, which should pay for a nice chunk of research into how to stop or better treat this terrible disease.

Some parting thoughts:

Please, folks, feel free to keep in touch with these organizations. We hope you'll want to continue monitoring their developments and perhaps will continue to support them in the years to come. We won't be featuring all of them again next year -- but we're very happy that we've come to know more about them this year.

An extra-nifty feature of our drive this year was its interactivity. We opened it all up to the community, asking for nominations, and you responded. You introduced us and your fellow Fools to many amazing and worthwhile causes and organizations. Many of them were little-known. It has been our pleasure to have been able to shine our modest Foolish light on the five selected charities, so that more people will become aware of them. We could have done as many others do, selecting a bunch of big-name charities. But I'm glad that we didn't. And from what I've read on our Foolanthropy message board, most of you are glad, too. The Salvation Army, for example, takes in more than a billion dollars each year. Whatever we might have given them, while it certainly would have been put to good use, will make a much bigger difference to a smaller operation, such as Foodchain or Grameen or Heifer.

Keep an eye out for any other amazing organizations you run across in 2000. Come this Fall, we'll probably be calling for nominations again. In fact, although we're not formally taking nominations now, you should feel free to post on the Foolanthropy message board about any worthy organizations at any time. Telling more people about them is always a good thing.

Although our drive is over, you can still give to our five featured organizations, even though it won't count as part of a formal Fool campaign. They'll be able to put your contributions to good use at any time of the year. Feel free to donate to them directly, and if you want, tell them the Fool sent you.

There will definitely be another Foolanthropy drive at the end of 2000. We hope that even more of you will participate and we expect to continue making this world a better place -- together.

Thanks for your open hearts and open wallets, everyone! Good job!

The Fool HQ Foolanthropy Squad

 Foolanthropy

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  • Tax Benefits of Contributing Stock
  • The Call for Nominations
  • What Is Foolanthropy?
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  • Last Year's Drive