ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 24, 1999) -- It's hard to believe that it is nearly Thanksgiving again. I have a great deal to be thankful for over the past 12 months, and I hope that you do as well.

The most important thing that I appreciate is my health. In general, I'll define good health as "being alive." So many of us live with imperfections of one kind or another, be they as slight as ringing ears or fading eyesight, yet just being alive means that we have some very important "health" to be thankful for. If one is generally healthy by every other definition of the word, too, that's even better.

I'm equally thankful for family and friends.

I'm also thankful that Brian showers at least twice a week, and that he's willing to try showering more often now that he's engaged (congratulations to Brian and Kristen!).

I'm thankful as well for the freedom that our country is based upon, and for the mobility that the United States gives to its citizens and businesses. I'm also thankful for the abundance of food that many in this country enjoy, while I'm hopeful that the people without enough food will be helped to a solution.

I'm thankful for the seasons. Changes in the weather, as fast as they come and go, can be exhilarating. I'm thankful for so many other things that the best thing I can do is to stop writing about it and to start trying to help others instead. When things are generally well, I appreciate it greatly, but I don't want to linger on it too long without instead sharing it while I can -- whether that means a phone call to an old friend, a letter home to parents, or a donation to worthwhile causes.

The Motley Fool has believed in giving since its founding. In fact, helping others is at the core of the Fool's mission, and this is actually what drew me to the company as much as anything. In the past two years, the Fool has been able to translate its desire to help others into charitable contributions, but only with help from you -- the community that makes the Fool what it is. Two years ago, the Fool community and the Fool, Inc., gave over $120,000 to Foolishly chosen charities during the holidays. Last year, over $200,000 was collected and donated by Fools.

This year, together we hope to help even more people who are less fortunate than we are. As you may know, The Motley Fool is conducting its charity drive a little differently in 1999. Last month, we asked you to vote on your favorite charities -- those that helped the most people, those that used donations Foolishly (meaning efficiently), those that addressed urgent needs (such as food and shelter and health). The five winning Fool charities, charities that you largely selected, are shared in a following link.

The Fool will donate an initial $10,000 to kick off this year's charity drive. Also, FoolMart will donate 1% of all sales in December. Finally, right now, any post that you make on Fool message boards results in the Fool donating 2 cents to charity. Given that some 6,000 posts are made daily on the Fool, the pennies will add up and hopefully the resulting donation will help many people less fortunate than us.

You can easily participate in Foolish charity by posting on the message boards like you normally do (and if you can post more often than usual, excellent) and by donating money yourself through our Foolanthropy (philanthropy made Foolish) pages, also linked below, where an easy donation process is made available to you.

If you are in a fortunate position whereby you can give something this year (even if only $10), and you want to give, please do consider a Fool charity. If you're not yet in a position to give monetarily, we hope that, with help from the Fool, you will be in a better position in a year or two. The Drip Port will again give one month's investment to a Fool charity this year. Without further ado, here is information on the 1999 Fool charity drive:

The 1999 Motley Fool (that's all of us!) Charity Drive

Thank you for taking the time to read this column and to consider being a Foolish charity contributor.

To close, be aware that we'll count all of the Drip message board posts during the Fool's "Here's my 2 Cents" charity campaign to see how much we, as Drip Port posters, contribute as a group by posting. Our Drip message boards are among the most active on The Motley Fool, so I believe that we'll be pleased with the resulting donation made by The Fool, Inc., due to our active posting. So not only do you often help other Fools by posting on the boards, but you help strangers through Fool charities.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Related Links:
1999 Charity Drive Charities and How to Give
Fool Charity Drive Introduction and Philosophy
Rule Breaker's special Thanksgiving Column
Drip Companies board
Drip Basics board