1999 Charity Drive Update

By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)

(October 21, 1999) -- Well, fellow Fools, we launched phase one of our charity drive last week and in just a few days, we've already received hundreds of nominations! If you'll recall, our new process this year involves a few weeks where you, our community, can nominate worthy, Foolish charities. We Fool staffers will then select a few to be finalists, and at that point, our drive will kick into high gear, as we rally Fools to contribute. (Read more about the entire process here.)

I'm one of the staffers who will have a say in which organizations are chosen, and I can already see that it's going to be a painful, difficult decision. There are so many worthy organizations out there -- and so many causes that merit our support.

I've been reading every post on our nomination board and here are some of my observations and thoughts so far:

-- Geez, there are sure a lot of problems out there that need to be addressed and solved. Issues brought to our attention on the board include leukemia, homelessness, disabled veterans, people living without clean water, lonely elderly people, indigent children in need of reconstructive facial surgery, people trying to land much-needed jobs who don't have a proper suit to wear to the interview, and many more. Yes, these issues are all depressing. But it's also uplifting to see that so many people are involved in so many causes, working toward solutions.

-- We've got an amazingly diverse and caring readership out there. (OK, this wasn't a real surprise to me. But it's always great to have confirmation.)

-- Reading
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through the message board is a terrific way to become familiar with organizations new to you. Thanks to the board, I have discovered some charities that have already warmed my heart and made me smile. Such as Heifer Project International, which lets contributors buy chickens, goats, bees, and so on for people in need. And it gets better -- the recipients perpetuate the giving, by donating some of the offspring of their animals to others. How nifty is that?

-- Several organizations are standing out by receiving much more support than others. This doesn't mean that they'll definitely be chosen, of course, but it does make an impression. These Fool favorites include:

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Polycystic Kidney Research Fund
  • American Red Cross
-- You can learn a lot on our boards, too. I've learned, for example, that The Nature Conservancy doesn't just lobby the government to preserve valuable land -- it actually buys such land! What a clever solution. Also, did you know that polycystic kidney disease is more prevalent than all of the following diseases, combined: cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, Down's syndrome, and sickle cell anemia? That when people's homes burn down, the Red Cross is often there offering shelter and supplies -- before the fire is put out? That you can help feed the hungry by just going to www.thehungersite.com once a day and painlessly clicking on a button? That families with seriously ill children can stay at Ronald McDonald houses for only $10 per night?

It's clear that although many of these nominated charities won't ultimately become finalists, they can all benefit just from the exposure they receive on our message board. (Especially if you visit the board to read it, if not to nominate an organization.)

So where do we go from here? Well, we're still in the middle of the nomination phase. There are several things that you can do at this point:
  • Read through the message board.
  • Nominate one or more charities.
  • Start putting aside a little money to contribute to the drive, once it begins. (It doesn't have to be a lot, but we'd really like to see every Fool give something, even if only a dollar.)
  • Start discussing the drive with friends and family and elsewhere on the message boards. Get people aware of it -- they may kick themselves later if they realize they could have nominated an organization near and dear to their hearts.
Stay tuned for another update on our charity drive's progress -- it'll be coming your way in about a week!

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