Monday, November 12, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

First off, allow me to apologise for being away for so long. I really have no viable excuse for not being a smarmy little bastard, and there's certainly a lot of stuff that's pissed me off, but I saw this and well, I'm speechless.

This is Mike Batchelor. He is the President of the Erie Community Foundation in Erie, Pennsylvania. The CNN article describes Erie as a city of many industries - most of which have either closed or moved overseas. The poverty rate is twice the national average.

However the Erie Community Foundation worked for years with an anonymous individual to identify deserving charities. 46 were found, and the anonymous individual coughed up $100 million. Mr. Batchelor will not reveal who the individual is, their possible connection to Erie, or even if the individual is alive or not.

$100 million.

A homeless shelter will receive $2 million. Among the other charities receiving this massive windfall are a women's shelter, a food bank, three universities, and a group for the blind.

Mr Batchelor called in the heads of these charities to tell them of the $100 million, and that the donor wished to remain anonymous.

I'm ashamed to say that the cynical side of me thought for a moment that the benefactor may have been trying to do some karmic cleansing of some past crimes. Still, it forced me to think about the depths of people's hearts. It doesn't matter if this person gave up $100, or $100 million. The point of charity is to enrich another person's life, and one aspect of anonymous donations is that hopefully people will think better of others. After all, you never know where the next helping hand is going to come from.

I promise I'll try and be a jackass soon enough.  I'll try and say something funny, but for right now, I'm having a warm and fuzzy moment.  

No comments: