Books
Foundations
Gifts & Giving
NonProfits
Public Commons
Social Ventures
Online
Home » Microfinance

Cause UnWired

By Tom Watson on December 23, 2008No Comment

Today’s New York Times has a wonderful column about peer-to-peer philanthropy: an effort in Ohio to provide targeted aid in response to requests from needy folks needing a little assistance over the holidays in very tough economic times.

But don’t look for it online: the year was 1933, and the economic downturn was the Great Depression.

Yet the system used by one mystery philanthropist in Canton, Ohio was amazingly like today’s red-hot micro-philanthropy models.The story is a compelling one – not the least for the surprise ending (you’ll need go read it) – here’s how it starts:

IN the weeks just before Christmas of 1933 — 75 years ago — a mysterious offer appeared in The Repository, the daily newspaper here. It was addressed to all who were suffering in that other winter of discontent known as the Great Depression. The bleakest of holiday seasons was upon them, and the offer promised modest relief to those willing to write in and speak of their struggles. In return, the donor, a “Mr. B. Virdot,” pledged to provide a check to the neediest to tide them over the holidays.

Not surprisingly, hundreds of letters for Mr. B. Virdot poured into general delivery in Canton — even though there was no person of that name in the city of 105,000. A week later, checks, most for as little as $5, started to arrive at homes around Canton. They were signed by “B. Virdot.”

Share This Post
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Twitter] [Email]

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Tags

#cgi2010 Allison Fine Barack Obama Beth Kanter Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Clinton Blogs Case Foundation CauseWired Change.org Changing Our World Clinton Global Initiative Corporate Social Responsibility Disasters DonorsChoose Facebook Facebook Causes Flash Causes Fundraising Fundraising Nightmares Giving Pledge GlobalGiving Haiti Hillary Clinton Kiva Lilya Wagner Mario Morino Millennials Non-profit organization Nonprofit NonProfits Philanthropy Planned Giving Politics Ron Paul Skoll Social Actions Social Media Susan Carey Dempsey Susan Raymond Ph.D Tom Watson Twitter United Nations Women YouTube

Blogroll

Philanthropy News

Sites We Like

Copyright

onPhilanthropy and DotOrgJobs are published by CauseWired Communications, LLC - copyright 1999-2011, all rights reserved.

Webmaster