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Monday, May 30, 2011

Letters... oh we get letters...

First of all, thanks to everyone who jumped in on the first weekend to make donations to the 'Dream Ride' fundraiser for the Efrat Emergency Medical Center Radiology Center.  We are past past our first $1000!
But apparently some of you still have questions you need answered before you'll feel comfortable tossing something into the hat... so here are my response to some of your questions received to date:
Q:  Why are you doing this?  Why not just ask for donations?  It's not like we'd demand our donations back if you decide not to do the whole 1000 mile ride, right?
A:  Good point.  The truth is that the idea of the ride occurred to me first... and the fundraiser was a way to give the ride the kiss of legitimacy.  The ride is now scheduled to be the culmination of the fundraising effort, and will mark the end of this particular campaign.  Like most things... people are easier to move towards action when they have both a deadline and a point to focus on.  The deadline for meeting the goal is the date of my ride... and the ride itself is the focus (although not the recipient) of the campaign.
Q:  What do you get out of this?
A:  Not much.  Yes, I'll hopefully get a nice certificate saying I rode 1000 miles in less than 24 hours (a feat whose bragging rights are of value to a truly minuscule portion of the population).  But I'll also have the satisfaction of having pulled together a bunch of good people and focused their generosity on a truly deserving project.  In life, we very rarely get to identify a real problem... figure out an achievable solution... and actually fix it.  Being able to share that feeling with a big group of like-minded people is the cherry on the whipped cream!

Q:  How much of the money raised actually goes to the Radiology Center?
A:  100%.  Okay, there is a truly minuscule processing fee that is charged by the donation server we use... but even that was selected to make sure that the maximum possible amount of each donation ends up benefiting the project.  No management fees, overhead costs, salaries, commissions, administrative fees, etc. are taken out.  Everything donated is going to be used for the completion of the Radiology Center.

Q:  Will people donating money get their name on a plaque?  Will you?
A:  To be clear, I get nothing from this... not even gas money for the ride.  If they do decide to put up any kind of marker in the Radiology Center to mark the campaign's contribution (and I doubt they will)... I will ask that it honor 'The Readers of Treppenwitz'.   That's the thing about being a worker bee... we get the satisfaction of an important job well done, but the credit gets spread around.  :-)
Q:  What is the campaign goal?
A:  I am reluctant to give that away just yet.  There is a great passage from Randy Pausch's famous 'Last Lecture' (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/Randy/pauschlastlecturetranscript.pdf)   where he described giving the first class of a new course what he thought was a difficult assignment... and they shocked him with the results.  So he asked his mentor how to respond:

"...I just gave a two-week assignment, and they came back and did stuff that if I had given them a whole semester I would have given them all As. ..., Sensei, what do I do? [laughter] And Andy thought for a minute and he said, you go back into class tomorrow and you look them in the eye and you say, “Guys, that was pretty good, but I know you can do better.”

I know approximately how much the Radiology Center needs to open its doors.  But I'm afraid that if I tell you a number now, we won't really find out what we're capable of. There are always extras on the wish list that they could do without.  But if we can raise enough for the extras too... why not?!  As we get close to the date of the ride I'll let you know what the real goal is.  Okay?

Posted by David Bogner on May 30, 2011 | Permalink


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Can you please write about safety measure to keep you and other people safe during this trip? For example, I imagine towards the end you will be tired. What happens if you fall asleep? Are you warning the traffic police or something like that?

Posted by: Ariela | May 30, 2011 4:22:08 PM

David, I love you but without a campaign goal, and being secretive about it, makes it look like a lack of transparency.

My "extra" tzedaka dollars are precious and I have a hard time giving them to organizations that lack transparency when it comes to financial matters.

Posted by: AidelMaidel | May 30, 2011 5:39:12 PM

"there's no limit to what a man can do, as long as he doesn't mind who gets the credit" -- Will Rogers, or something like that

Posted by: Wry Mouth | May 30, 2011 6:36:14 PM

Ariela.... Have you ever gotten up early in the morning and gone to sleep after midnight? That's what I'm going to be doing. I should be able to do the ride in about 19 hours. But if I need to rest... or if I feel I can't finish, I'll make the safe choice.

AidelMaidel... The organization I am trying to raise money for is completely transparent. If you have an issue it is with me. It would be one thing if I were asking people for $20k checks without telling them how the money is being spent. I'm asking for $18 or $36 donations for a very specific cause. If you don't trust me, then give to a charity of your own choosing. But please don't besmirch a life-saving organization just because I want to raise as much as possible for them.

Wry Mouth... Well said.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | May 30, 2011 10:50:52 PM

I'm curious about why you think you can complete this trip, particularly the portion along the eastern sides of Judea and Samaria, without getting shot. Or at least shot at.

Posted by: Dick Stanley | May 31, 2011 8:57:22 AM

Dick Stanley ... I, along with thousands of other Israelis, travel throughout Judea and Samaria on a daily basis without being shot at. The chances of being in a serious accident in the Tel aviv area is far greater than the chances of being involved in a terror attack in the areas where I intend to ride. In fact, the chances of winning Lotto are higher.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 31, 2011 9:10:57 AM

David, I think the security worries of some readers are partially legit. Your blog is no small fish, and you might even get some press (who doesn't like press?). I don't recall, were you going to post specific details of the route? I don't think you were.
It's not meant to spoil the fun you two are very probably going to have.
Anyways, maybe there are volunteers taking up guarding for some part of the ride. That would be neat.

Posted by: a. | May 31, 2011 9:12:55 PM

I've visited Israel. I know it's mostly peaceful, even on Highway 6. But I'm not sure I'd be comfortable on some of your intended route, at least to the extent that I can determine it from what you've said about it. Anyhow, good luck, and have fun.

Posted by: Dick Stanley | Jun 2, 2011 8:02:36 AM

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