"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    Project (RED): Capitalism meets charity

    If you haven't heard about Project (RED), it is a very unique program that allows several of the nation's largest companies to raise money for AIDS assistance in Africa through the Global Fund. Companies like Gap, Motorola, Apple, and American Express are participating, among others. The companies involved are selling products, with a portion of the procedes benefiting the global fund. Companies have to make a profit on their merchandise to be involved. Thus, they have an incentive to sell more and thus there is incentive for growth of the money contributed. In my opinion, this is a very clever way to raise money. That's why I was somewhat surprised to read this site, criticizing Gap and the other participating companies. "Join us in rejecting the ti(red) notion that shopping is a reasonable response to human suffering", their website clearly states.

    This holier than thou attitude is undeserved and, frankly, offensive. Gap and the other participating companies have been able to produce a great deal of funds for those who genuinely need it. Praise, complements, admiration may be in order...but disdain certainly is not.

    Project (RED) is not intended to be a direct donation charity. This is by designe. It has distinct characteristics from a direct-donation charity that make it an ideal and unique complement to the Global Fund. While you can, of course, donate directly to the Global Fund, Project (RED) fills in a different niche. Trendy suburbanites can buy trendy clothes, jewelry, and phonese and Africans benefit! In this sense, many people who otherwise would never think to donate to the Global Fund are helping to fight AIDS.

    Yet, partnership between retailers and charities is not new. It has been highly successful in the recent past following the Tsunami that devastated Indonesia et. al. Amazon.com and others produced copious tsunami relief simply by allowing people to donate during 'checkout'.
    The tsunami that devastated millions of people living on the coasts of southern Asia and eastern Africa caused a philanthropic outpouring from people around the world who gave generously to help the survivors of the tragic disaster. It also brought to light a new trend in charitable giving, with Red Cross experiencing record breaking donations through online partners and retailers that raised more than $23 million. Leading the way on this new trend, Amazon.com collected more than $15.7 million
    Do those who criticize Project (RED) think this is also useless? I laud Gap and the other participating companies. I will continue to buy their products, and I would encourage others to do so as well.

    2 Comments:

    Blogger Jimmy K. said...

    I cannot find an email address on your site, also some of the links you have listed have not posted in over a year in some cases. Not good for your readers. The contact info you have listed will not open with the firefox browser or at least not mine.

    7:54 PM  
    Blogger MikeZ said...

    I've seen the RED posters in some of the stores - most of whichj I don't shop in anyway.

    It seems like a good idea.

    Too bad the "buy less scrap" site takes the approach that "if we didn't think of it, it must be crap".

    12:08 PM  

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