Foolanthropy 1999
Weekly Update #1

By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)

(Dec. 2, 1999) -- We're a little more than a week into our third annual Foolanthropy drive and we're off to a solid start. Without further ado, here are the current tallies. These numbers represent how much we've collected for each of our five selected charities as of Wednesday, December 1, 1999:
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Foodchain:                     $6,996
Grameen Foundation USA:        $7,071
Heifer Project International:  $4,417
Make-A-Wish Foundation´┐Ż:       $3,115
Polycystic Kidney Research:    $1,950

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS:          $23,519

Number of contributions:          387
Average contribution:          $60.77
How should we interpret these numbers? Well, it depends on how you look at it. This already represents a lot of good that these organizations will be able to do. It's no small amount of money. Still, though, nearly 2 million people visit the Fool website each month. We hope to see a higher level of participation in the near future and a bigger total soon.

It's still early, though. The drive has just begun. Not everyone is aware of it. Many people don't dig out their checkbooks until later in December and many have been too busy munching on turkey drumsticks in the past few days to donate anything. So contributions should ramp up soon. And if you haven't already given something -- anything -- we invite you to at least read more about the fascinating and inspiring organizations we selected this year and to consider donating. Read more on our drive launch page.

To help folks in their decision-making, I've assembled some reasons you might give to our drive.

Ten Reasons to Support the Foolanthropy Drive
  1. Because the stock market has advanced relentlessly in recent years. The S&P 500 was up about 34% in 1995, 20% in 1996, 31% in 1997, 29% in 1998, and is on track to outpace its historical annual average gain of roughly 11% once more this year. This is unprecedented. It's made a lot of people rich. If the stock market has been good to you, consider sharing your good fortune with those who have much less than you do.

  2. Because you almost certainly know someone who suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD). You might not realize that they have it. (I just learned over Thanksgiving that a second friend of mine has it.) It's a brutal disease affecting more than 12 million people. (If you're not faint of heart, check out this photo). People with PKD tend to end up undergoing long, expensive dialysis sessions, and ultimately needing transplants that aren't always available. With sufficient funding, a cure or treatment may be only 5 to 10 years away.

  3. Because giving will make you feel really good. It's a win-win proposition.

  4. Because 29% of U.S. children under the age of 12 -- 13.6 million children -- are hungry or are at risk of hunger daily. More than one-fourth of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year in America -- 96 billion pounds of food. Foodchain is saving 300 million pounds of it, and will save much more with our help.

  5. Because The Motley Fool website is completely free. Almost all of our offerings come without a charge to you. If you think you're getting a good deal from us, consider chipping in a little spare change to this worthy drive. We want to show the world what an online community is capable of doing.

  6. Because millions of destitute families have a plan for survival, but no funding to make it happen. With loans from the Grameen Foundation USA, they can work their way out of poverty, starting small businesses. And better still, those loans will be repaid and the money then re-lent.

  7. Because we're not asking for arms or legs. You don't have to chip in $250. (Although that would be great!) If each of us just gave $5, we could raise almost $10 million.

  8. Because a hive of bees or a pregnant goat can be the difference between life and death for many people. Heifer Project International finds needy people, trains them in how to care for an environmentally appropriate animal or plant, and then gives it to them. The only string attached is that they should pass on the gift to others.

  9. Because fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses provides memories of strength, hope and laughter that they and their families will cherish forever. Your contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation will help make these wishes come true.

  10. Because giving is the right thing to do.
Donating online to these charities via credit card is easy -- and safe. Just click on the "Contribute Online" link in the gray box. You might also want to donate by mailing a check or by contributing stock. We have details on these options here.

Feel free to discuss our five selected charitable organizations (or any others) on our Foolanthropy message board. If you have any questions about what it's like to live with PKD, for example, some people there can tell you. Others are gushing about what good work the various organizations do. And many are expressing how proud they are to be a Fool when they see people participating in this drive. I'll second that. It makes us here at Fool Intergalactic HQ proud, too. (And remember -- we're giving two cents to charity for every post you make on any of our message boards through the end of December.)

If you'd like to read more about charities and giving, check out the Philanthropy Roundtable and its publications. Or The Foundation Center and its news digest. It's only natural for us Fools to grow more interested in philanthropy. By taking control of our finances, we're setting ourselves up for a future that's more likely to be secure. Indeed, if we take the time to learn as much about investing as we can, we may end up doing extremely well. Couple some boffo portfolios with empathetic hearts and we may have many future famous Foolanthropists among us!

Fool on!

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 Foolanthropy

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