I'm excited to finally nail down the charity that I'll be walking for, and with 28 days until I head to the Massachusetts/Vermont border, it's time I start my fundraising. While it typically takes more effort to stop me from talking than start, I'm finding myself unsure of what to say about the monetary part of my trip. Even as a band member for over 2 decades, any sort of self promotion, and in particular the discussion of money, always made me feel very uncomfortable. Having people pay me for doing what I loved seemed at best uncomfortable and at worst gross. I need to remind myself that this time I'm not selling a T-shirt with a band logo on it, not negotiating a fee for a show, and that the money I raise may very well take predators out of circulation and protect those who can't protect themselves. Author, Attorney, and fierce child advocate Andrew Vacchs coined the phrase "Children of the Secret", which refers to abused children, of whatever age, who were victimized without ever experiencing justice, much less love and protection. It's for them I outstretch my hand and for them I walk.
In the last few weeks I've realized that I've been so focused on gear, training, logistics, etc, that I never really addressed the whole issue of donations for those of you who might donate. The gear, the planning, the training are all very exciting, and it's very easy to get caught up in those aspects of the trip, but they're not my mission. I've chosen to work with The National Association To Protect Children & PROTECT. The people at RAINN have been incredibly supportive and kind, but after immersing myself in the Penn State headlines over the last month I've decided I'd like to work with an organization that works solely for the benefit of abused children. I wish I could hike for and donate to every charity that helps abused kids, but I can't. Before I talk about the nuts and bolts of your donations I have two disclaimers:
1. I am in no way sponsored, endorsed, or supported by The National Association To Protect Children & PROTECT . My hike is an independently organized event not officially sponsored by NAPC & PROTECT. The money I raise for them will be given as a personal donation. They have a very strict Third Party Fundraising Policy to protect their name and reputation, and I intend to follow these guidelines to the letter.
2. When you click on the "Donate Here" button on my site the money goes to Just Give, an organization that works as a "pass through" for charitable organizations, a way for charities to raise money without having to set up their own mechanism for accepting donations.. Greater than 95 cents of every dollar will go to NAPC & PROTECT. The remaining few cents are kept by Just Give for their operating costs. When I complete my hike a check will be delivered to directly to NAPC & PROTECT. The money will never touch my hands. Every dollar I take in will go to NAPC & PROTECT.
All of my gear has either been donated or purchased with my own money. The money required for 30 days on the trail will also come out of my pocket. Not one dime of the money raised will go toward my "overhead" costs.
Sorry that was so dry, but it's important for me to let people who are kind enough to donate know exactly where the money is going.
"The pain of the world will sear and break our hearts because we can no longer keep them closed. We've seen too much now. To some degree or other, we have surrendered into service and are willing to pay the price of compassion. But with it comes the joy of a single, caring act. With it comes the honor of participating in a generous process in which one rises each day and does what one can. With it comes the simple, singular grace of being an instrument of Love, in whatever form, to whatever end." Ram Dass