Back four years ago now, when Jebus, Patrick, and I were discussing the blog that would eventually become BHGP, we discussed a lot of things, a lot of editorial stances, a lot of areas where we ended up agreeing with each other about what a good website that we would want to write for would look and write like. We never discussed charity. I would guess just about no sports blogs do in their planning process, so BHGP is clearly no exception, but the fact remains that we never got into this hobby/business to advance the cause of anything but our own views on sports and, so long as we agreed with the program's direction, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
And yet, over the past year, we've astonished ourselves at the level of support we've been able to generate for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital; the BHGP community donated $20,641.70 to the UICH as part of the Touchdowns For Kids campaign that raised $181,966.50 in its first year. We're fully committed to continuing our support for the 2011 season, and we're working on some very cool fundraising projects for that season, which we'll be able to unveil in the coming months. The UICH addition is going to need millions of dollars, though, so our work is far from done here.
In fact, it'll never be "done," because the need for charity will always exist, and no matter how strong the BHGP community gets, we will never accomplish big things just by ourselves. This is the largest confounder of charity: it always needs more. I suspect this is why nobody discusses charity when they start entering into partnerships: if you say "yes," you will at some point have to say "no." And knowing that so many organizations in just Eastern Iowa alone are hurting for money, saying "no" to any of them is so lousy and depressing that it discourages that first "yes" in the first place.
That's why I was so happy to see Marc Morehouse turn some Iowa memorabilia he had around his office into a fundraising opportunity for Camp Courageous over the past week. Morehouse's impromptu auctions netted $1,650 for the charity, which will make a significant difference in the lives of very many people and families who could use the support.
And if you're comparing Morehouse's money raised to BHGP's, please, do not, because that misses the point in the worst way possible: a prideful, competitive, judgmental way. Marc's fundraising is not competing with BHGP's fundraising. Marc's fundraising is competing with ZERO, which is what he would have raised if he had just decided to be too self-conscious to undertake a project like this. Marc beat the hell out of zero. Marc won like crazy. Marc ran up the score on zero. So should you, if you've got the means. So did all of our donors. Do you get it yet?
For the record, HS won multiple auctions. That is truly awesome of him. I hope many of our readers also at least bid on these items. I also declined to bid on any of them. It's not as if I don't support Camp Courageous or anything--I have a truly, unimpeachably wonderful niece who has Down Syndrome, and I know the level of special attention, patience, and care she required growing up--I just don't place a lot of value in historical memorabilia compared to the next guy, so my involvement in the auctions would have left nobody happy, and that crossed my wholly arbitrary and selfish "no" line for charity. This is not a proud admission.
I'm rambling, so let's wrap this up like this: it's my belief that everyone with the means to do so should support a good charity of their choice at a very high level. The tax benefit is nice, but the real benefit is helping society in a way that you wouldn't ordinarily be able to do otherwise. Please do it if you can. Do it for the UICH, or do it for Camp Courageous, or do it for anyone who provides vital support to those most in need. Hopefully, you'll never have to say no. Be ready to have it suck if someone asks you anyway.
Like I said, I'm rambling. I do wish we were all philanthropists, from we writers to you readers on down, but I get how it might not happen if it doesn't. Just please be as much of a difference-maker if you can. These people could use it.