Donated, thanked March 3, 2010 12:03 AM   Subscribe

When we threw the 100k raffle back in November, we raised almost $1,000 for DonorsChoose.org. Since I couldn't find a direct organizational donation, I ended up funding several projects in science, culture, and special needs around the country. The thank you letters came pouring in this week and here are some screenshots: (1, 2, 3, 4). Thanks again all for donating.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 12:03 AM (61 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Woo. I like happy endings.
posted by that girl at 12:12 AM on March 3, 2010


Man, I promised myself I wouldn't participate with this account, but this is awesome. Science and math education is so important in the U.S.
posted by xish at 12:20 AM on March 3, 2010


I think I speak for all of us when I say that we want our money back from the Mrs. O who used Comic Sans.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 12:22 AM on March 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Neat. Thanks for passing them along.
posted by salvia at 12:28 AM on March 3, 2010


I have to say that I take an immense amount of pride, totally out of scale re: my participation in it, in belonging to this community. To be frank mathowie, you do great things, and have brought a ton of strangers to tears with your inspired kindness. Good on ya.
posted by nevercalm at 12:34 AM on March 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Indeed. Thank you.
posted by twirlypen at 12:40 AM on March 3, 2010


Oh dear, I must have something in my eye.
Now when can we stop puffing and preening and get on to the next good deed?
posted by adamvasco at 12:47 AM on March 3, 2010


Yay!
posted by Jofus at 1:32 AM on March 3, 2010


I LOVE METAFILTER, SO MUCH!
posted by crossoverman at 1:34 AM on March 3, 2010


I think I speak for all of us when I say that we want our money back from the Mrs. O who used Comic Sans.

I say she should get more money for being so awesome that she uses Comic Sans.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:35 AM on March 3, 2010


It's schmoopy day again!
posted by pjern at 3:44 AM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awww, kids and their science experiments. And kids and their music. Schmoopy!
posted by harriet vane at 4:07 AM on March 3, 2010


I had a crappy weekend and I come to work today to find more crap but this made me feel so much better. Let's do this again. I feel warm and fuzzy now.
posted by govtdrone at 4:18 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though I choose another organization this is great.
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 AM on March 3, 2010


And this was just 1/12th the total money donated. Small amounts go a long way.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 4:35 AM on March 3, 2010


This is a perfect, perfect antidote to all the grar we've had going around recently.

I hate that we live in a country where something like DonorsChoose is even necessary, but since we do I am so, so glad they exist.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:37 AM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really, really need to break myself of the habit of repeating words for emphasis.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:38 AM on March 3, 2010


Fantastic. Put a little schmoop in my step today. Thanks, mathowie.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:59 AM on March 3, 2010


Is there a reason the 100k account still hasn't been activated?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:09 AM on March 3, 2010


Nice.
posted by OmieWise at 5:47 AM on March 3, 2010


To be frank mathowie, you do great things, and have brought a ton of strangers to tears with your inspired kindness. Good on ya.

I'm still waiting on that pony that will allow me to favorite comments like this a thousand times.
posted by marsha56 at 6:04 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to complain, but next time could we please fund some evil scientists? The world needs more weather control, robot armies and doomsday devices.
posted by ColdChef at 6:08 AM on March 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yay! When's the next one?

I think there totally needs to be a metafilter non-profit. Hire one of the non-profit people on here to oversee the whole thing. This way I could take advantage of matching funds through my work and get the write off. barring this, it would also be cool to set up a monthly thing.

I only threw in $5 toward this and another few toward the Christmas thing, but I could see setting up a monthly amount that gets pooled and donated. Or I liked the early days idea of a metafilter scholarship. I wouldn't give a lot (I already have my charities, but I could see $5 a month).

I did the kiva thing, but a team there doesn't seem as cool and something here. I put $25 there and it after that day I felt done with it (well, until I get my money back in a couple years, and can start the whole thing over).

Is there a reason the 100k account still hasn't been activated?

Last time I went from memory on something I was dramatically wrong, so take this as you will, but I think that the winner has stated she will activate it at whatever meetup she decides to go to.

posted by cjorgensen at 6:15 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is really lovely. What an excellent choice of charity - I think the impact in those classrooms is significant.
posted by Miko at 6:20 AM on March 3, 2010


Mikey-San: "I say she should get more money for being so awesome that she uses Comic Sans."

True. I once knew a guy who was so awesome that he had to use Wingdings.
posted by Plutor at 6:27 AM on March 3, 2010


Is there a reason the 100k account still hasn't been activated?

Because jamaro is taking her time.

Thanks for the update, mathowie, it's nice to hear some good news and get some schmoop.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:38 AM on March 3, 2010


Because jamaro is taking her time.

I was only curious.

Yay, etc.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:43 AM on March 3, 2010


I think there totally needs to be a metafilter non-profit.

GiveMe?
posted by patricio at 6:50 AM on March 3, 2010


Blub.

Seriously, teachers are so cool.
posted by muddgirl at 6:50 AM on March 3, 2010


Yay, etc.

I'm totally stealing this for the next wedding card I sign.
posted by ODiV at 6:51 AM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


A projector?
I specifically selected a goat for that classroom.
posted by chococat at 6:53 AM on March 3, 2010


Did you put the goat in your shopping cart?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 AM on March 3, 2010


I think there totally needs to be a metafilter non-profit.

Seconded, and not bc I think #1 needs any more work to do, but mostly bc I think there is real pride of place here and it would be an absolute success....I'm not sure that a salary demographic has been done here, but I'd assume that with a smart, techie readership there's some room for donations in teh average member's wallet, especially seeing as how the choice of recipient is generally pretty interesting and productive of great utility/change for what's invested. If/when I ever find work again and no longer have to choose between mortgage and car repairs, I'd donate for sure......
posted by nevercalm at 7:23 AM on March 3, 2010


FLUTES!
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only way this would have been cooler is if, instead of flutes, we provided banjos.
Anonymously.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:33 AM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think there totally needs to be a metafilter non-profit.

What do people see as the benefit of MeFi having its own nonprofit, as opposed to working through existing organizations that we support? It would eat up some of the donated funds (or profits), and add a layer of administration and distance. It sounds like most of what people like about this could be accomplished through a dedicated bank donation fund, which would require someone to administrate it, but wouldn't come with all the hassle of developing and managing an actual independent nonprofit organization.
posted by Miko at 8:49 AM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


FLUTES!

and SCIENCE!

YAY!
posted by Big_B at 9:01 AM on March 3, 2010


I know many are tired of tagline jokes, but this one really fits for me:

Metafilter: 3-D Models, Projectors, and Flutes!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2010


or what Big_B said before I previewed but didn't post.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:06 AM on March 3, 2010


What do people see as the benefit of MeFi having its own nonprofit, as opposed to working through existing organizations that we support?

I think a lot of the PayPal hassles and getting through to the existing non-profits were part of what spurred this idea. Certainly this isn't something we can do with current levels of staffing and efforts. The neat part about this would be that we could have some sort of status to make donations directly and have a place for charitable giving for MeFites and maybe even possibly employ a few to help the whole thing go. I don't think people are taking the idea lightly, just having a sort of "what if" thought process about it. Having a bank donation fund would, in fact, accomplish a lot of the same stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2010


What about a Mefi college scholarship fund?
posted by desjardins at 9:21 AM on March 3, 2010


Would the scholarship fund be specifically designed to benefit a MeFite, or just a worthy student, regardless of MeFite membership?
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:23 AM on March 3, 2010


I was thinking either a mefite or a mefite's kid. I don't know how it'd work outside the US, though, because generally scholarships are disbursed directly to the university, and that might be more complicated overseas. (?)
posted by desjardins at 9:25 AM on March 3, 2010


We've had them in the past, or rather small donations towards someone who wants to go to school. It's a little challenging because for every person who writes a nice essay and is like "I hope I win!" there are a few people who really see it as an opportunity to rules lawyer in various ways [either by saying "you can't legally do this" or "here's why you have to decide this THIS way and not THAT way..."] and it makes running the whole thing exhausting. I think the idea of a non-profit so that managing these sorts of good works could happen by someone on our payroll but NOT actually one of the five of us is a neat daydream. But it's a farther off daydream than something we're looking at implementing in the near future.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 AM on March 3, 2010


This is a lovely thing.
posted by faineant at 9:45 AM on March 3, 2010


I think the idea of a non-profit so that managing these sorts of good works could happen by someone on our payroll but NOT actually one of the five of us is a neat daydream. But it's a farther off daydream than something we're looking at implementing in the near future.

Not that my vote counts a bit, but I vote this over comment editing.
posted by nevercalm at 10:13 AM on March 3, 2010


I think the idea of a non-profit so that managing these sorts of good works could happen by someone on our payroll but NOT actually one of the five of us is a neat daydream. But it's a farther off daydream than something we're looking at implementing in the near future.

I know I said it back during the raffle, and I know it's just a pipe dream at this point, but a MeFi Foundation could mean a lot of good things for MeFi in that it would be easier to raise more money, easier to deal with the paypal red tape shit, good tax bennies, etc. It isn't that hard to set this up, at least initially, though upkeep is a full-time job. Still, the MeFi Foundation, GiveMe, whatever - it would be pretty cool, and there's a lot of giving around here already, so it isn't like it would be a huge out-of-nowhere thing.

But Anyway, hooray! Thanks mathowie, and thanks Metafilter. You are so so awesome. I was thinking about posting a MeTa thread for hugging, since there's been so much GRAR lately, and since I've been feeling only MeFi love lately, what with Jessamyn coming to my freaking house and all, so I'm glad this thread came into being so I could *HUG* all of you!!! Hugs! Schmoopy!! Best of the people on the internet.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:39 AM on March 3, 2010


Yay!, etc.

I put my raffle ticket monies towards Donors Choose, and my niece plays the flute in her high school band. It's great to think that my contributions helped buy flutes for other kids. I couldn't be happier. Thanks for the update.
posted by team lowkey at 11:27 AM on March 3, 2010


This makes me happy.
posted by marxchivist at 1:50 PM on March 3, 2010


I like Donors Choose so much more than a mefi college scholarship, and I say that as a currently unfunded grad student. I've never been sure why the scholarship idea leaves me cold but I think it's a combination of lots of effort for both the students and mefi for, in the end, not that much money and not many people helped. Donors Choose has a lower bar to entry and genuinely helps so many young students, possibly leading to more of them even making it to college in the end.

I guess the upside of it all is that metafilter has had a place for doing both in it's history (regardless of what I think, heh) and is likely to keep doing good things for various types and groups of people in the future. And these thank you letters are very cool. So yay, etc.
posted by shelleycat at 1:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


we raised almost $1,000

You mean 10K, right?
posted by jokeefe at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2010


*reads thread more closely*

Argh, never mind. *slinks away, waving pompoms*
posted by jokeefe at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2010


Good stuff. Just for clarification, though, it seems that all of the money raised by the international family that is MetaFilter members went to causes in a developed country, and just one developed country, amirite? (Forgive me if I'm mistaken; I own one of the tl;dr shirts.) If there is any thought of setting up a regular donation scheme here, I for one would like to see it help out in developing countries.
posted by fish tick at 5:13 PM on March 3, 2010


*reads thread more closely* Ah, just this $1k, then. Sorry!!

Argh, never mind. *slinks away, waving*
posted by fish tick at 5:15 PM on March 3, 2010


Another one just came in from a class. We also bought a bunch of books for a school and they are thanking us for it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:40 PM on March 3, 2010


Yeah, fish tick and jokeefe, this was only money earmarked for DonorsChoose, which was one of the choices on the donation page that people wanted money donated to.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:41 PM on March 3, 2010


organize them by theme! <3
posted by unknowncommand at 7:08 PM on March 3, 2010


YAY!
posted by Drasher at 5:48 AM on March 4, 2010


I think that a bank donation fund might be simple to set up right away and would eliminate the PayPal problem immediately. It looks like different states have different regulations about how these funds have to be treated, but in general, it seems anyone can make a donation for charitable purposes, and the money going into the fund will not be viewed by the IRS as income to the recipient. It would probably involve less actual work than dealing with PayPal, especially if these fundraising projects remain occasional. Donations to such a fund are not necessarily tax-deductible for the giver, but I'm not sure that donating through PayPal allows for that now? I don't know a ton about this, though.

Setting up an actual, designated private foundation that is a true foundation is probably not something that would work for MeFi. The word 'foundation' is used generically a lot for charities, but it really means a kind of fund where you use a large endowment to generate money by interest and then donate that money. It would require a pretty sizable initial investment, and then each year we would only draw a small portion, typically the 5% minimum required by the IRS, to disburse to charities. So you would generally start with, like, a $5K or $10K foundation that would live in the bank and throw off interest. Foundations are also subject to certain taxes. In general they are sort of heavy beasts, designed for big bucks. One way to simplify this and still be a foundation is to run under someone else's flag - perhaps setting up a MetaFilter gift fund in a geographically based community foundation somewhere. Another thought - there are groups like Citizen Effect, which is a giving circle that lets you use your social network to organize folks to devote money to causes you select.

I think what people would actually want is an independent nonprofit public charity. That would incorporate as a 501(c)3 under some state's charter. Such a group could raise pass-through funds and wouldn't be required to maintain a minumum deposit, and MeFi could retain independent control over when and why to undertake fundraising projects. It would mean there would need to be a board, a charter, an annual filing of tax records, and whatever else the state required. It would need a statement of purpose that gave some specific idea of the type of public benefit the group was doing - social service, education, freedom of expression, what have you. There are some small startup costs for filing with the state and setting up a bank account. No big woop though - it's easy enough, just takes some oversight capacity and some volunteer power for the board.

No matter which way it ended up going, it might be smart to just chat with a nonprofit lawyer and/or tax person before doing another big charity drive.
posted by Miko at 9:03 AM on March 4, 2010


Yeah Miko is spot on. I didn't mean to suggest starting a foundation in the strict sense of an endowment/investment fund. I agree with Miko that a non-profit public charity would be the way to go, or a designated fund under a community foundation, but you'd have less control that way and possibly more paperwork to have to deal with. Surely forming a board would be no problem at all, getting a mission statement together - that's the easy part. And filing your 990 is not that much of thorn either. Raising the money through the raffle or whatever, which we do from time to time anyway, is usually the tough part - and we're pretty good at that!
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2010


Surely forming a board would be no problem at all, getting a mission statement together - that's the easy part.

I think it would be pretty easy, as these things go, but definitely still a time investment because it invoves people wrangling and consensus/approval getting. The bonus is that at least everyone here is online a lot, so communicqation would happen a lot faster than on most boards, where you spend all your freaking time trying to track down the too-busy, non-techy, and otherwise hard-to-get.
posted by Miko at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2010


« Older PawnFilter   |   Gear up, soldier! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments