The Do Donate Fribble
By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)
December 26, 2000
[This Fribble originally ran in December of 1998, but we've updated it and we think you'll find it's just as relevant to this year's Foolanthropy drive.]
I don't know what came over me when I penned my last Fribble, urging all our readers to not contribute to our charity drive. Maybe I downed a bad bowl of Lucky Charms that morning. (If that's possible.) Maybe I have some multiple personalities I haven't met yet.
In any case, I'm happy to report that I'm now back to my senses, ashamed of what I did, and ready to make amends: by convincing you that you should contribute -- even if only a dollar or two. I don't agree with the grouches I cited in that last Fribble, but with the likes of Mark Twain:
"Always do right -- this will gratify some and astonish the rest."
So let the persuasion begin. Here are some reasons why you should consider donating:
1. Contributing just a dollar or two should be pretty painless -- we give you many ways to do so: by mail, by phone, by fax, by credit card securely online, by donating stock.
2. If you're inclined to not chip in because you already donate to other causes in other ways, we understand. But it does make a difference if you donate to our campaign. If you feel that you're part of our online community, please consider donating even just a very small amount, so that you can be counted. We'd like to show ourselves and the world what our merry band of Fools can do when they join together. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there -- over two million at last count! If we each contribute just a few dollars, we can raise millions of dollars.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."
-- Abraham Lincoln
After all, here in Fooldom, we are working on something that we have yet to finish. One of our missions is to make the world a better place, by teaching people about investing, by helping level the playing field for individual investors, by championing the good and debunking the silly (like lotteries). What could be more Foolish than helping people who are down and out get back on their feet, by giving them work skills and a hope for a secure future? Once they're working and earning, they might even join us in the stock market.
3. The causes that our drive benefits couldn't be much more worthy. They are not just random charities we picked out of a directory with our eyes shut. We settled on them after a lot of research, and they address the most vital human crises: poverty and hunger. We love that all our charities are so darn efficient, wringing as much as possible out of every dollar donated to their programs.
Eva Per�n said it best, when she explained:
"Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it once and for all. Almsgiving leaves a man just where he was before. Aid restores him to society as an individual worthy of all respect and not as a man with a grievance... Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and sets him on the same level with the rich."
4. The time is right. Right now.
"Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment."
-- Jean de La Bruy�re
"Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present."
-- Albert Camus
Some statistics to consider:
Almost 14% of the U.S. population -- approximately 36.5 million people -- live below the poverty level, 40% of poor Americans are children. (U.S. Census Bureau, 1997)
40% of the homeless population are children. (National Coalition for the Homeless, 1997)
The U.S. poverty rate is twice the average rate of other industrialized countries. (Bread for the World, 1997)
5. Because giving is a win-win proposition. The recipient gets much-needed aid. The donor gets a little peace of mind that he or she is doing something. James Joyce adds:
"While you have a thing it can be taken from you... but when you give it, you have given it. No robber can take it from you. It is yours then for ever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give."
6. Because it's the right thing to do.
"That best portion of a good man's life; His little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love."
-- William Wordsworth