Our Foolanthropy drive has really kicked into high gear in the last week, with some wonderful new developments. When we updated you last, our grand total was $111,559. Not bad, but not earth-shattering, considering that there are some 2 million of us who hang out here at least once a month. Well, things are looking much better this week.
Donate to a Foolanthropy Charity. Click here.
Before I continue, here are this week's numbers:
Grameen Foundation USA: $74,811
Heifer Project International: $44,312
Make-A-Wish Foundation�: $23,973
Polycystic Kidney Research: $25,405
TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS: $222,511
Number of contributions: 1,972
Average contribution: $79.57
(The preceding two numbers refer only to donations given via credit card at Fool.com.)
Kudos and thanks to those who have contributed!
Clearly, we're very excited. It means a lot that people feel they're part of a meaningful community here, and are eager to see what we can accomplish together. We staffers here at Fool Intergalactic Headquarters feel the same way.
Let me point out a few things about our drive:
The challenges have also inspired others. Here's a note recently posted on our Foolanthropy message board by a Fool named "kkchem":
"As a result of the challenge (and the many subtle encouragements throughout Fooldom), we just donated to Grameen, an organization I had read about several months ago. Our portfolio has grown very nicely this year and we would not have become investors without all the amazing free information available from the Fools. We are grateful for the advice that has enabled us to prosper this year and now feel good about being able to acknowledge our gratitude for the Fools in this way. I encourage everyone to look at the growth of your portfolio this year (and I hope it has grown a lot) and give what you can."
(We invite you to pop over to our Foolanthropy message board and share your thoughts!)
Another thing to keep in mind is participation. We'd really love to have as many people participating as possible. We know you probably already give to other causes nearer and dearer to your heart. That's fine. (Actually, that's great!) We don't want to replace your favorite charities. We just think that we've found some very special organizations and we'd like to help them out. And together, since there are so many of us, we can do a heck of a lot of good with minimal effort. If each of us just sent in $5, we'd raise nearly $10 million. Amazing. If we each contributed $25, we'd raise $50 million. Incredible! That's more than most companies generate in revenues each year. We could do it so painlessly, and it could do so much for people.
In case some of you have forgotten exactly what good we're trying to accomplish, here's a brief refresher. We asked each of the charities what they could do with $100,000 if we raised that for them. Foodchain could open up 16 new community kitchens, where people who are down and out could become employable, learning food service skills as they stretch donated perishable food to feed many people. It could also rescue an additional 50 million pounds of food annually. Grameen Foundation USA could give annual loans to 200 international borrowers and 30 domestic ones so that these folks could become micro-entrepreneurs, starting small businesses. The money would be lent and re-lent, year after year, helping many people lift themselves out of poverty.
The Heifer Project International would give away economic survival to many poor people in the form of fauna and some flora. Some would get goats or oxen. Others would get organic gardens or trees or bees. Heifer determines what's best for each family's environment and trains them in how to take care of (and pass on) their gift. The Make-A-Wish Foundation would be able to grant the wishes of about 20 children who have life-threatening illnesses, giving them and their families some joyful moments. The Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation is in a unique position. The gene tied to this devastating disease that afflicts 12.5 million people worldwide has been identified. A cure or treatment is perhaps five or ten years away, if the funding is there to help reach it. We can help.
A final reason to consider giving is a selfish one. In case you haven't yet discovered this for yourself -- or maybe you've simply forgotten -- when you help others, you feel really good. It's very satisfying to share your good fortune with others.
Even if you're not inclined to give anything this year to Foolanthropy, please take a few minutes to just read more about these very impressive charities. If we simply increase awareness of these problems, these solutions (many of them quite innovative!), and these charitable organizations, we'll have done a lot.
In summary, here are some points to remember:
Here's a list of generous Fools who've given so far -- via credit card on our site. Many more have mailed in checks directly to the charities or have donated stock. Those donations count, and the charities are updating us on donation totals, but unfortunately we don't have your names to add to the list.