Dear Fellow Fools,

At the end of every year, for a thousand reasons, many of us give money to other people, causes, and charitable organizations. These acts of generosity are undertaken with the motivation to make the world a better place in general, or maybe to have a positive impact on just one life. At The Motley Fool, we celebrate these acts. And for the ninth consecutive year, we're proud to inform you that we're trying to make an impact, too, and would love for you to join us.

We call it Foolanthropy, and if you've read the title of this letter, you know how much we've raised together as Fools, worldwide, over the course of nine years. What is Foolanthropy? Think of it as an interactive, cooperative charity drive -- the Internet's first and longest-standing.

The Selection Process

Here's how it works:

1. First, read through our five Foolanthropic tenets that highlight how we think of effective giving.

2. Starting today, we welcome your nominations of worthy charities. We've opened a special and free discussion board where you can do so. We'll accept nominations through Sunday, Nov. 6.

When you nominate a charity, please keep these things in mind:

  • The organization should meet the criteria outlined in the tenets at the link above. Please also note that we gravitate toward national, not local, charities. Foolanthropy "involves the public at large," and as a company, The Motley Fool is focused on national solutions. This will be one of the standards by which all nominations are evaluated.
  • We'll be selecting the finalists directly from these nominations, so you'll want to make a good case. Even those outfits that don't ultimately make it as one of the five selections may still reap great rewards if you can raise awareness about them on the discussion board.
  • It will help your case if you explain what concrete results Fool dollars can accomplish for the charity. For example, you might explain that for every $1,000 that the Fool drive contributes to "Clothe the Spaniels, Inc.," 100 cocker spaniels will be clothed for a year.
  • Try to include contact information for the organization, such as phone number and/or URL.

3. Once nominations are closed, our Foolanthropy committee of volunteers (employees of The Motley Fool) will select the five organizations that will be our Fool charities of the year. We'll announce those charities on Nov. 16.

4. On Nov. 28, we'll begin soliciting donations to the finalist charities. Throughout the drive, we'll keep you updated on our progress.

5. To make this a little bit more fun, in keeping with the way we do things around here, The Motley Fool will award a $10,000 bonus contribution to the one charity that receives the most support, dollar-wise, from the Fool community.

We'll also be contributing through individual donations from Fool staffers and The Motley Fool coffers. Here are the key parts of the drive:

  • Direct donations from Fools worldwide.
  • $10,000 award contribution from The Motley Fool, Inc.
  • Our popular "My 2 Cents" campaign, whereby we'll donate $0.02 to the drive for every post made to our discussion boards in December. That's right -- for every 50 posts made on any board, we'll chip in a dollar. That might not sound like a lot, but we've got lots of boards and lots of posts.

The Goals

Here are the goals we've set for this campaign. We most cordially invite you to join us in trying to achieve them:

  • Introduce the Fool community to a host of worthy charitable organizations.
  • Make the world a better place through our united efforts.
  • Raise a lot of money.
  • Astonish the world by demonstrating what millions of Fools can accomplish when they work together.
  • Have fun watching the goodwill pour in.

So be sure to nominate your favorite charity and start scrounging around in your pockets and behind sofa cushions for some extra change!

Thanks in advance to all of you who decide to join us in support of some great charities that will deliver dramatic returns on even the smallest investment. It may sound cliched, but we join our Foolanthropy partners in assuring you that every little bit makes a difference. Just think how astounding the results can be if each of us, more than 5 million members worldwide, gives just $1!


David Gardner and Carrie Crockett

... on behalf of The Motley Fool's Foolanthropy team