First things first: I ask that you forego your next latté or bagel and instead donate a few dollars to this very worthy cause, helping out teachers and kids throughout the United States. Easily done, just click on the “Colorado Bloggers Challenge” text in the ad graphic below:
Now, let me tell you how this ended up here and in my sidebar too: My good friend Micah Baldwin of Lijit asked me to add it. Well, he asked a couple of us Colorado bloggers and we’ve all added the widget with the hopes we can raise some serious cash for a worthy cause.
I asked Micah for the back story on his relationship with DonorsChoose, and here’s what he explained…
About a year ago, I was beginning to read VC and tech blogs. During that time, I came across Fred Wilson’s blog. I had no idea who Fred Wilson was, other than a lot of people seem to read his blog. He was linked to Brad Feld, and Brad was someone I trusted, so I assumed Fred’s content was equally trustworthy.
For a period of time, as I read Fred’s blog, I began to find most of the content pretty interesting and on topics that I found interesting.
Then one day he had a post about joining a “blogger’s challenge” by DonorsChoose. I was a new blogger, and was just learning what a widget was, etc., plus the power of blogging.
Having been an educational fundraiser for years early in my career (mostly colleges and universities), I always have held any philanthropic effort to help education in high regard, so I took a closer look at DonorsChoose.
It’s a really interesting charity. It allows teachers to self-identify things that are important to them. So music teachers will choose things like new guitar stands, a history teacher might select a trip to a local museum, an English teacher might select a series of books. Then individuals can contribute to whichever cause they find particularly interesting. The amount doesn’t matter, and the contributor can designate the entire donation to go directly to the cause (with DonorsChoose getting zero).
I decided to participate and help Fred out. It didn’t hurt that the winning blogger would get a lunch date with Jerry Yang, which Fred had decided to give to the participant who provided the best reason for giving. My dad, having recently retired from Stanford University, would love to have lunch with Jerry, so I jumped in.
DonorsChoose allows you to pick a school by geography, and I was very excited to see that my middle school, Morrill Middle School in San Jose, CA had a fundable project. So I sent in a small amount ($500 I think), to fund that project.
Fred did win the lunch with Jerry, and selected someone extremely worthy to get the lunch, but I had found a site that I felt had all the pieces of a biz that could make a real difference. And over the next year, I made several donations, usually in the name of a family member. (In fact, for Christmas, I gave everyone a donation in their name rather than gifts.)
A couple of weeks back, I got an email from Kris Murray, DonorsChoose’s Deputy Director, Northwest Region. She happened to be from Colorado and was out visiting family. She asked if we could connect, and, like a good Boulderite, we met over coffee.
She told me that DonorsChoose was going to have another Bloggers Challenge this year. She asked me to join Fred, Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington, Kara Swisher and others in the challenge. I knew that I would never be very effective on my own, so I offered to help in any way I can, which I knew was getting more people involved than just me.
In truth, its one of the best parts of the technology scene in Colorado. We are all more than happy to help one another. Unlike the coasts, where often the individual is the center, in Colorado its is usually a collective effort. TechStars is a great example of that. Lijit is a great example of that.
So, I asked the premier bloggers in the state: you, Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Ryan McIntire, Jason Mendelson, Andrew Hyde, Alex King and David Cohen; created a giving page called the Colorado Bloggers Challenge, and asked everyone to join in.
I am glad to see that everyone has decided to be part of the effort.
Thanks for the kind words, Micah, and thank you, dear reader, for your efforts to help us raise some serious money for DonorsChoose. Spread the word!