The Motley Fool's volunteer Foolanthropy committee was unsure whether our readers and fellow Fools would be able to open their hearts and wallets as much as they historically have at the end of the year. After all, Mother Nature was exceptionally ferocious over the past year. The tsunami that hit Southeast Asia near the end of 2004 dominated the charity scene for the early part of 2005. After that, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma wreaked havoc here in the U.S., wiping out practically the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast and flooding 80% of the city of New Orleans in up to 20 feet of toxic water. A deadly earthquake in Pakistan, meanwhile, killed more than 87,000 people and left millions homeless in the face of a brutal mountain winter. And Hurricane Stan triggered mudslides that turned parts of Guatemala into mass grave sites.
Although we believed that the five charities we selected from your nominations this year would appreciate any money we could raise, we did worry that "donor fatigue" might affect this year's campaign. But in this year of staggering non-profit involvement in relief efforts and sustainable solutions around the globe, we still hoped to beat the amount we raised last year and really give these hard-working organizations a leg up.
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our readers, The Motley Fool is delighted to announce that we, as a community, raised a total of $289,597! Not only were we able to raise a significant amount of money to help sustain these charities, but we also did so at a 64% increase over last year's $175,934!
And we are also excited to announce that Heifer International, with $107,279 raised, has won the contest, a distinction that earns it an extra $10,000 from the Fool. For several years running now, Fools have chosen Heifer as their charity of choice. Perhaps it's the passing on of a gift, and the compounding of benefits to a community that a single animal provides, that appeals to the sustainable solution-minded nature of so many Fools. Congratulations, Heifer!
The Humane Society of Louisiana raised a staggering $81,174. This is the first time in the history of Foolanthropy that we selected a regional charity -- we generally tend toward organizations of national or international scope. So we are thrilled to announce that this "Rule Breaking" local charity, which helped rescue and care for thousands of abandoned animals after the hurricanes in Louisiana and helped reunite them with their owners, garnered so much support -- both financially and verbally on our discussion board -- from the Fool community.
Our other charities really made a great showing, too! Mercy Corps, with its disaster-relief operations in Pakistan and around the globe, took in $49,922 in donations. Doctors Without Borders (a.k.a., Medecins Sans Frontieres) pulled in $31,140 for its efforts in providing health care to people around the world. And DonorsChoose collected $20,082 that will help teachers in at-risk public schools around the U.S. provide their students with the resources to give them the first-rate education they deserve.
And one more announcement we're proud to make: Over its nine-year history, Foolanthropy has now passed the $2.5 million mark, with a total of $2,603,481 raised over its lifetime!
And the icing on the cake? The results of the "My 2 Cents" campaign. There were more than 125,000 posts to Fool boards during December. With 2 cents being donated per post, the Fool was able to chip in another $2,560 to divide among the charities.
The 2005 Foolanthropy Committee would like to thank every single Fool who donated so generously to these organizations. We hope that you continue to keep them in mind in the future and that you join us again in the fall, when Foolanthropy 2006 kicks off. And as always, we hope that you will continue to invest and donate Foolishly.
David Gardner, co-chair
Carrie Crockett, co-chair