Friday, February 15, 2013

5 Blunt Reasons Someone, Somewhere Needs Your Ten Bucks

Act #46:  Fight injustice with a ten dollar bill.

No matter how much we speak up and speak out, the harsh reality of it all, is that social change takes cold hard cash.  It takes $1.1 million dollars for the rape crisis center that I’m affiliated with to provide services to 17 counties in central Kentucky.  It takes the small liberal arts college that I previously worked for, close to $40 million dollars a year to provide a quality education to about 1500 students.  Everything costs money.  So I’d like to take this opportunity to take on, all the awkwardness and discomfort associated with the act of asking for money for a good cause. I’d like to bluntly offer 5 reasons you should consider giving as little as $10 to your favorite charity. For the sake of this blog, I will use sexual violence as an example (since that’s what I know), but giving to any cause that you believe in is important and can have a huge impact on your community.

1.  Crisis counselors like sushi every once in a while.  They also have kids and mortgages and car payments just like you.  While social workers and non-profit employees are amoung the most underpaid employees, they still deserve a livable wage above the poverty line.  I can't tell you how hard my colleagues work, nights, weekends, whatever it takes.  You should know that the sad reality of this is that most have to make tough financial choices every month about their limited income, and often times luxuries like sushi (or eating out for that matter) are the first to get striked off their list.
2.  Life is like a box of….Girl Scout cookies.  You buy Girl Scout cookies, don’t you?  Who doesn’t love Thin Mints, right?  Who doesn’t feel good about forking over $10 to help empower the next generation of female leaders?   Well, what if I asked you to give $10 to support rape prevention education and the chance to help stop sexual violence before it even starts?  And rather than a box of cookies I would offer you a glimpse of a world where it was safe for your daughter to walk alone in a dark alley?  A step closer to a world where all children felt safe in their own homes?   Yes, your $10 (along with the $10 from a few others) would really, really have that kind of impact.  True, you might not walk away with ooey gooey goodness, but you would walk away with the amazing feeling that you were taking part in bettering your own community.  You may even walk away with hope. 

3.   Ten bucks goes a long way.  If everyone reading this blog gave $10 to the rape crisis center (currently there are about 400-600 of you in any given day – thank you for reading my ramblings!), this is what could happen. Your $10 would really make all of these things possible:
·       We would be able to launch a 6-week equine therapy group for victims of rape and sexual   
       assault (some victims of this type of trauma do not respond well to traditional talk therapy and
       horses are magic.  Really, they are.)
·       We would be able to accompany 5 victims to court and provide them with legal advocacy
·       We would be able to provide rape prevention education to all incoming freshmen at your local
·       Our staff might be able to go out for sushi on Friday night.   Now we're just being frivolous.

4.  We can’t count on VAWA.  If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ve seen all the drama associated with our congress’s passage (or rather unwillingness to pass)  the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that helps to fund millions of dollars in programs that prevent violence and provide critical services to victims of violence.   Many non-profits are heavily reliant on federal and state funds, but all it takes is for one bill not to pass, one change in administration, one national crisis, and quite literally half the rape crisis center offices could be shut down over night.  Continued financial support and backing from people like you, who are invested in your own community is crucial.  These programs directly benefit you, or your sister, son, mother, or a co-worker. 

5.  Jane really wants to wear a cape.  I wish I could tell you that I spend most of my days in a cape, flying around stopping perpetrators of violence in their tracks, and personally helping each and every victim feel safe again.  But the truth of the matter is, I spend much of my time writing grants, connecting with people who share in their desire to eliminate violence - and giving them opportunities to contribute to a worthy cause (some have coined this term “fundraising”) , and planning events that help raise awareness and support for our work.  While I actually enjoy this part of my work, there is SO much work to be done that I don’t currently have time for – like working more closely with hospitals for a better response to victims of rape, or providing sexual assault awareness at the elementary school level, or more effectively addressing human trafficking in our region, or reaching out to vulnerable populations like the elderly, the disabled, and ethnic minorities, and the list goes on.

Please don’t take this as an appeal to stop buying Girl Scout cookies.  I certainly won’t.  I’ve got two boxes of Caramel Delights en route as we speak.  But, do take a moment to give some thought on how you might be able to set aside some of your resources, regardless of the amount, to regularly support the greater good, to support causes and issues that you care about.   Whether it’s the Girl Scouts, the Rape Crisis Center, or some other peace and social justice organization, trust me, they need you.  They need your $10.  By sharing your financial resources with worthy non-profits, you’re pretty much wearing a cape of justice and personally fighting crime, violence, poverty, waste, discrimination.  So keep on buying your Girl Scout cookies, but I hope you also consider investing in hope.

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