I Gave at the Office

A little over two weeks ago a letter came home in Maya's backpack asking for donations. Her school is embarking on an absolutely AMAZING project. From the website: "PS 84 is partnering with New York Sun Works, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the concepts of urban sustainability and environmental science to NYC’s schools to build a state-of-the-art science classroom on the roof of PS 84. " 


Pretty awesome, right?

Then, a few days later, I received this in my email inbox:


Dear Parents:
We have embarked on a very ambitious fundraising effort to raise money for our Greenhouse Classroom project. It is absolutely necessary we raise $100,000 by the end of December, so we can move this project ahead. We need everybody's participation in order to make this happen. You can help by volunteering in the events we are planning or by sending money with your child's backpack. No amount is too small or too big. 

It is "absolutely necessary" to raise how much? By when?? 

Then I got this:
HI ALL - Here's a sample letter that I'm using to promote the event.  Thought we could all do something similar.    Let's get these invites out to everyone we know - thanks in advance for your help!   

Since then I have received an email, a Facebook status update or a letter from the school about the upcoming fundraiser approximately every 3 days.

Let me reiterate that I think this is an AMAZING project, one which I am very excited about. I can't wait for Maya to get to experience it. And I know that the best way to raise money for anything is to ask everyone, everywhere and then ask again. And again.

Up to a point. 

After that, it just becomes annoying. After that, people start to feel like all you do is ask them for money. Either they already gave and are irritated that you are still bringing it up, or they can't afford it and you keep sending helpful reminders about how horrible they should feel. 

I know all this, because I run a karate school full of parents and students, just like Maya's school. It is very easy to abuse people's compassion. It is very easy to have an endless stream of seminars and special events, and to sell all kinds of merchandise, from t-shirts to gi bags, which students are encouraged to purchase. Who doesn't want to "support their dojo". They love it here! Still, we try our best to keep our students from feeling like all we want is for them to open their wallets. 

In other words, there is a fine line between fundraising and harassment.


I sent Maya's school $50 anyway. It is the best I can do right now. So please stop asking me for money. Please stop asking me to ask my friends and family for money. And please stop "reminding" me about the fundraiser, I promise I won't forget. 

Besides, you do not need to email me over and over to sell me on this project. All you need is for this to happen:

Today I asked Maya what she wanted for dinner. Here is what she said: 'We could have a big salad with all kinds of things like lettuce, cucumber, green and red peppers, carrots, apples and chicken."  Here it is: 

Photo: Perhaps we went a bit overboard with the salad?

Apparently they recently installed a salad bar in her lunchroom. And today in science she "harvested" lettuce from the current greenhouse classroom. And ate it. 

My kid eats salad now. Go donate some money!

See, that was easy.

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