Marathon runners delve deep into the well of human will for that final thrust of energy to get them across the finish line. As the fundraising component of this year's Motley Fool Foolanthropy campaign draws to a close, I am hopeful that Fools will dig into the equally profound well of human kindness.

Through this Friday, every comment or post contributed to The Motley Fool's website will continue to increase the Fool's charitable gift to the Thurgood Marshall Academy by $0.10 (up to a maximum community-driven contribution of $20,000). In other words, the students at this exciting public charter school in the heart of our nation's capital are counting on you to maximize the positive impact of this initiative.

Thurgood Marshall Academy is a public charter high school that is making a major contribution of its own to the lives of the young people it serves. With an impeccable record of five consecutive graduating classes boasting a 100% college acceptance rate, the academy is creating life-altering opportunities in neighborhoods where opportunity is scarce. While offering a legal theme through internships and the like, Thurgood Marshall Academy offers a well-rounded educational experience ... and The Motley Fool aims to enhance students' understanding of financial topics as its specific contribution.

Through last Sunday, the community had generated a noteworthy surge of posting activity above the baseline rate to trigger a contribution of nearly $10,000 to this worthy cause. With only days remaining to drive this contribution higher, I challenge Fools to channel one more burst of energy to carry that total above $12,500. Updates will be posted periodically through TMFStrongbad's CAPS blog. And if you're not sure where to begin, feel free to start by assessing my pick for the best stock for 2010 and sharing your opinion about Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) with the community.

1,000 points of light
I have reason to be hopeful. Members of the Fool community sprinted from the starting line last month with a spontaneous outpouring of support that both captured the essence of what is means to be a Fool and redefined the notion of 1,000 points of light.

In the process, CAPS blog records were shattered, community members heaped on the help by making their own tax-deductible donations through the school's website, and a CAPS legend was born in endurance typist extraordinaire catoismymotor. With Fools like "cato," isusan, Option1307, blesto, and many others leading the charge, the blog achieved its target of 2,000 comments. Spurred by a $1,000 challenge pledge by Fool co-founder Tom Gardner, this grassroots blogging initiative within the broader campaign generated nearly $2,500 in donations to the Thurgood Marshall Academy ... above and beyond The Motley Fool's dime-per-comment campaign pledge.

As school representative TMAWarrior pointed out, that kind of generosity can go a long way: "It cover[s] approximately 40 students' AP test fees. It can buy 20 students textbooks for a new course we'd like to offer, AP Human Geography."

The buck doesn't stop here
Although the fundraising drive is nearing completion, the Foolanthropy program will continue throughout the year. Fool community members have already shared nuggets of their own financial wisdom through the aforementioned blogging effort, helping to shape the process of developing an informal curriculum for financial education that Fool volunteers will promote during 2010. In a true intersection of two communities, several members of the school's community are now registered Fools, and many Fools have already displayed a keen interest in assisting the financial education focus of this effort.

One aspect of this year's Foolanthropy campaign that is generating so much excitement within the community is the element of volunteerism that is built into the initiative. Throughout the year, members of The Motley Fool's staff will conduct seminars and financial-preparedness workshops for both students and parents at Thurgood Marshall Academy. Through the CAPS blogs and discussion boards, I encourage Fools to remain active participants in the initiative as this educational marathon marches on. If you live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and would like to get involved, a CAPS blog post might help to activate more like-minded Fools.

While a sure thing in the investment world often proves elusive, an investment in the education of our youth always yields positive returns. Whether you participate by doubling your own commenting activity on Fool.com through Friday, by making a tax-deductible donation yourself through the Thurgood Marshall Academy's website, or by providing ideas or resources to develop a financial education curriculum in the comments section below, your contributions to this Foolanthropic endeavor will pay dividends for generations to come.

The highest investment yield around
It wasn't so long ago that investors presumed that dividends from blue chip financial stocks like Citigroup (NYSE:C) and quasi-governmental oddities Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) would last forever. But those dividends fell into oblivion like the now-notorious balance sheets of debt-impaired companies like DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS).

I'm talking about a different kind of dividend here. The dividends generated by promoting excellence in education offer a far greater yield than even popular high-yielders from the energy patch like Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMP) and Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP). The yield is, quite simply, a better tomorrow.

With only four more days to drive that Motley Fool donation higher one dime at a time, thank you in advance for increasing your commenting activity this week as your time and your typing prowess allow. Like marathon runners, it's time for each of us to sprint to the finish.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker would like to thank every Fool that has participated in this year's Foolanthropy campaign. From tireless commenters to generous pledgers, the givers are too many to name. Fools can donate directly to the school here, and are encouraged to indicate the amount of their donation in the comment section below.

Christopher can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares in Silver Wheaton, but none in any of the other the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a well-educated disclosure policy.