Foolanthropy 1999
Weekly Update #4

By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)

(Dec. 22, 1999) -- Woo hoo!

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:

Foodchain:                      $54,010
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:
  • For starters, time is running out. The drive ends in just a few days, on the 31st. If you haven't given yet and would like to, please do so before it's too late.

  • If you're planning to give, please try to do so before Monday the 27th. That's because we've got some matching challenges going on and you can double the money you give by giving soon.
What matching challenges, you ask? Well, a generous Fool stepped forward recently and offered to pony up $30,000, matching donations to Foodchain, Grameen Foundation USA, and the Heifer Project, up to $10,000 each. And as if that isn't exciting enough, another Fool decided to look out for the remaining two Foolanthropies and issued a similar challenge on their behalf -- for up to $5,000 each for the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Doesn't that just make you proud to be a Fool? It sure does so for me.

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:
  • Time is running out. The drive ends at the end of December.
  • We've got some challenges underway. Please give by Monday the 27th, if you can.
  • Please take some time to read about these organizations.
  • Please consider giving just a few dollars, at least, so that we can have a high participation rate.
  • Take some satisfaction in knowing that you're spending time in an online community full of really generous people. You're in very good company here.

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.

Thanks, Fools!

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