2008-10-03

"A Spirit of Giving" - DonorsChoose.org

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In my short time as a "blogger", the importance of passion has become abundantly clear. Passion (as I've written about before) is the primary reason why anyone would want to come home after a full day at work and write to an audience that either may not exist or one that may not even be interested in what I'm saying. It is however the purity of the process that seemingly keeps the authors motivated and the audience captivated. We write, you respond; it's that simple. But as this blog is nothing more than an outward expression of what affects me throughout the day, week, or month, you may occasionally be surprised/confused by what you find here.

Where Passion Meets Compassion
As a member-elect of the Village Church, I get to hear the incredible preachings of Matt Chandler on an almost weekly basis. Matt is a man who is passionate in his quest to understand Biblical truth and the person of Christ as opposed to any modern day misconceptions about His teachings (granted through the lens of the Baptist church). He recently threw out a stat that there are over 2,000 passages regarding the poor and oppressed, and that we are all called to maintain a "spirit of giving." With the credit crisis threatening to pull our country either into a recession or further into one, and the current national charitable giving percentage only at 3.1%, I thought it might be worth highlighting a silent victim to our financial distress.

In my daily travails around the net I came across a post by Fred Wilson detailing a new approach to funding our public school system; donorschoose.org. As Fred explains:

Donor's Choose, which runs this whole thing, is a great organization. When you give to a classroom project via Donor's Choose, you are not giving your money to anyone. Donor's Choose actually purchases the items the classroom needs and sends it right to the teacher. So those Xilophones will get bought by Donor's Choose and sent to the classroom in Greensboro, NC. There's a ton of technology automation involved. This is a "fraud free" way to give to needy classrooms and I love that.

For anyone claimimg to be free-market purist, this is the type of charitable donation you should be focusing on. There is no bureaucracy and no red tape.

I've added a widget to the right side of the blog to remind anyone who finds their way here to consider giving to this worthy and innovative approach. To illustrate the power of the blogging world, last year Sarah Bunting over at Tomato Nation raised ~$100,000, and currently Fred Wilson has raised over $6k thus far.

I've picked projects that focus mainly on math and the performing arts, as these were probably the two main influences on my adolescence and teen years (apart from sports and girls), but feel free to recommend any project you find that should be highlighted. If you want to participate in the challenge, you have to click on the widget to the right and give to one of the projects listed on that page.

UPDATE: My sister rightly pointed out to me that if your passion is micro-lending overseas, then KIVA.org may be more your speed.

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