Monday, May 11, 2009

Final Update

Well, it seems the fundraising has come to an end. Unfortunately I didn't reach my 2000.00 goal. The final total was 1520.00. Quite frankly that's amazing. I was 90% sure when I started the fundraiser that I would just get laughed at. Instead, I got laughed at AND raised a large sum of money. I'm really grateful for all your hard work, and your willingness to help me out. The money raised went towards my travel, internship deposit, and other miscellaneous travel expenses, like the 6 different immunizations I've had in the last three weeks. Yikes.

I should probably tell you a little bit about where the rest of the money ended up coming from, and why I needed to fundraise in the first place. I decided to take on the internship in late December, and immediately started exploring options for funding. I found out about the public interest fund at school, which grants $3000 dollar stipends for public interest work. I started volunteering with them in order to qualify for a stipend. Unfortunately those stipends aren't granted until the end of April, and I was uneasy about getting knee deep in travel plans to Peru without knowing if I'd actually receive a stipend or not. 

As a result I continued to explore other options. I found out that I could take out a student loan, but only if I was getting school credit for my activities. I immediately went about trying to find out how I could get credit for my internship so I could take out a loan. I was told that all externships would be discussed in future meetings, that they'd get back to me in a week, in two more weeks, etc. In the end I was not feeing confident about my chances of securing a student loan. 

In the meantime I was emailing and calling all kinds of people looking for sponsorships and grants. I was coming up empty handed, and eventually came up with the idea for this fundraiser. I had a lot of fun putting it all together and seeing how people came together to help me out was really inspiring. The cleaning, not so much. 

I found out on April 23rd that my internship had been approved for externship credit, which means I would qualify for a student loan. I also found out that receiving academic credit for the internship disqualified me from receiving a public interest grant, which seems a little silly to me, but whatever. The point is I was able to secure a loan for the rest of my expenses. 

Even with the loan, I would not have been able to make the trip without this fundraiser. I will not be receiving my loan money for another couple of weeks, which is essentially when I'll be leaving for Peru. I was in such a strange position all semester long--I needed money for this trip, and the only people who seemed willing to even consider doing it weren't going to be making decisions about it until late April or May. This fundraiser made it possible for me to start planning my trip, arranging the travel and getting ready without waiting on the administration or the financial aid office to decide whether or not I was worthy of a loan. 

In the end I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped out. I will keep everyone updated on my other blog, www.stateofthestephen.blogspot.com. Check it out periodically throughout the summer. 

-Stephen

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

General Update

Yesterday I went to check out the refrigerators, mostly to get another look at how beautiful they were, and I noticed someone had already placed their dirty dishes on top of one of them. I wonder how long it will take before they're cram-packed full of moldy take-out food again . . . 

People keep asking what I'm shooting for now, so I thought I'd remind everyone: If we get to $2000, I'll be cleaning the microwaves every week for the rest of law school. To sweeten the pot I've decided to throw in a monthly cleaning of the refrigerators. 

The fundraising total should really be 43 dollars higher than it is because some people here at school have given me cash, and I haven't gotten around to turning it into electronic dollars. 

I've also been selling t-shirts to help raise money, and if you're a Trail Blazer fan, you might want to check them out. My latest is a Brandon Roy shirt that you can find here, for by following the link over there on the right. 

Thanks again everyone, keep spreading the word!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cleaning time!

It would be hard to overstate just how disgusting of a job this was. Special thanks to Robert Nicholls and the Winston-Dillard Fire District. You guys are awesome. 

Enjoy . . . 

video

Friday, April 3, 2009

Refrigerators 1 and 2, Judgment Day

As you can see, we've had a couple of really good days of steady donations. Thanks again for all your help, it means a lot to me. 

It also means that tomorrow I'll be cleaning both refrigerators, cleaning up the microwave area, and stocking it with plastic ware and all that good stuff. Stay tuned for details. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tomorrow is Dollar Day, Tell Your Friends

And enjoy this video:

video

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slightly Above Frustrated/Dollar Donation Day

Today was supposed to really get the ball rolling. At least that's how I imagined it. At school several people congratulated me on making the local paper like a true celeb. I kept checking my email, expecting the donations to starting coming in, or for some more local businesses to jump on board. Instead, silence. I didn't hear a word from anyone.

Of course, I mostly blame myself. Who in their right mind would give their blog a 14-word long URL? Maybe the biggest blunder in marketing history. I tried to change it before the story ran to "stephencleans.com," but the customer service people over at godaddy.com were less than helpful and all I ended up with was a domain name that points to a place called Error 404.

Now, I'm not in a hurry to have my weekly microwave duty triggered, and frankly I'm afraid for my life when it comes to cleaning the refrigerators, but I'm even more sick of fundraising. There is something draining about asking people for money. Sometimes I feel guilty for soliciting donations from fellow students who I know are just as strapped for cash as I am.

With all this in mind, I decided that this Friday will be Dollar Donation Day. I honestly think we can reach the $2000 dollar goal with people donating nothing more than a single dollar. We just have to find a way to get 1500 people to each give one dollar. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to this approach:

Advantages: One dollar is not a lot. The guy who sells joke books on 13th could spare a dollar. There is probably a dollar in your couch cushions right now, or in that change jar on your dresser.

Disadvantages: In the two weeks or so that this fundraiser has been going, there have only been 27 contributors. Don't get me wrong, I love you all. All I'm saying is, it might be hard to mobilize 1500 people on a single day when so far we've only inspired 27.

I really can't do this by myself, so this is my challenge to you: on Friday April 3rd, give one dollar. You can contribute at the website, or you can bring a little baggy full of pennies to school, it doesn't really matter. The next step will be to mobilize friends, family, or anyone else who has a dollar to spare (even the joke book guy!). Let's see what we can do.

US Weekly, here I come

I woke up early this morning to go pick up a copy of the Register Guard. I wanted to see if the story about the fundraiser had run. I had front page hopes, but jammed-between-the-auto-trader-and-the-classifieds expectations. 

I was happy to see that the story was on the front page of the City/Region section. You can read the online digital version here. Make sure to click on the photo tab to get a good look at my disgusted mug. The article is fun and very well written. Unfortunately it's just a matter of time before the paparazzi start following me around.

I have to say, this has been a fun project so far (other than the cleaning microwaves part). I enjoy putting together the videos and writing letters to Oprah, which is something I used to do in my spare time anyways. I hope that amidst the quirkiness and novelty of this fundraiser, however, we can all keep in mind that this really is a good cause. By coming together as a community we really have the power and potential to change lives. 

For those of you looking for more information about the internship, you can check out my internship blog here. 

Thanks for all your donations. 


--Stephen