I have always tried to walk the talk. In my small way, where I see some injustice, I try to do something about it. I write about it here. I write about it there. I send letters and emails. I give the occasional speech. Do any of these actions accomplish anything? Maybe. Maybe not. But, I also pick causes I like and support them monetarily. Through one of my companies, I support several foster children, and have done so for many years. I donate money every year to various charitable organizations, mostly those that I perceive to have the lowest overhead and provide the greatest bang for the buck. The Salvation Army is one organization I support. Jen, the very nice blogger and social activist who has inspired this post and the one preceding it, might be surprised to learn that I also support an organization that works with 'street people,' the disaffected youth and homeless individuals in our area who need some help from time to time. This organization is called Ark Aid, and is a small faith-based 'mission' that does a lot of good work in London, Ontario. My company paid for the website for Ark Aid, and I contribute a little money every year to help out. My brother and I have even performed there on New Year's Eve, to give the drop-in crowd some entertainment. Big deal, right? So many other people do similar things, yet we still have problems with homelessness and poverty and who knows what else.
Is there anything we can all do to make things better? If we all care so much, why can't we think of ways to generate attention and donations and facilities and volunteer hours to make a real difference?
We're a pretty bright crowd, I think, those of us who cruise around on each other's blogs. We all care about injustice and inequity, don't we? We may not all agree on who should pay for the things we would like to see, but we would all like to make a difference somehow. Why don't we do something together?
I am making a public offer, right here, to do the following:
- I will pay to register a domain name with a name chosen from suggestions we will all make for a sort of 'clearing house' website dedicated to helping right some of the many wrongs in our world.
- I will pay the ongoing costs of hosting the website on servers here in Canada.
- I will donate as many hours as I can to help get the project off the ground.
Here is what you will do, if you care to help:
- Donate time and skill to helping build a dynamic first-class, far-reaching and effective website.
- Do research on what does and doesn't work, in the cause of helping various groups, especially:
- The homeless
- Teenage runaways, addicts, etc.
- Single mothers who are struggling to raise their families
- Those who are genuinely in need of a hand up because of illness, accident, or some calamitous occurrence in their lives.
- Compile lists of private organizations that help these groups, first of all in the United States and Canada, and then hopefully in the rest of the world.
- Compile lists of foundations, corporations, philanthropists, and anyone else who might be in a position to help via donations of goods, services, or money.
- A section used to shine the bright light of publicity on injustice and corruption and human rights abuses.
- A section where people can submit suggestions, success stories, essentially anything that would be motivational and positive in nature.
- A section where users can search out what is available by way of any specific service, grouped by geographic area. For example, if we wished to find a homeless shelter in San Francisco or a temporary home for unwed mothers in Toronto, we should be able to find what we want quickly in this section.
You may have noticed that I have been very general in my descriptions. That is for a very good reason. I think we could do the most good by being a clearing house, not another charitable association. Users would visit the site to find what they are looking for, and then carry the ball from there. For example, a shelter like the one Jen works for might use the resources on the site to find donors of supplies needed at their shelter, or volunteers to help serve meals, or benefactors who might provide annual stipends that could be used to keep the place functioning.
I don't want to spend the whole of my Saturday here at my computer, so I am going to leave it at what I have written so far.
I have made my offer. I also promise to contribute $1,000 Canadian dollars towards the cost of anything that we will desperately need to achieve our goals but that no-one is prepared to donate to us.
We will also need donations of legal and accounting services, because we do not wish to spend our remaining days in jail. Our governments might have some strange ways of interpreting efforts like this, and we do not wish to be perceived as doing anything that would require payment of taxes or fees or anything else that might complicate our lives.
So, what are you waiting for? Ideas, please. Decide what you could reasonably do to help, and then let's get cracking.