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There are still around 1 billion people living at the margins of survival on less than US$1 a day.  
United Nations Development Program - 2007  


Baby Stuff!-December 9th, 2008

Just a quick note to let you know that we dropped off all of the baby stuff that we collected.  Great job everyone, thank you so much for coming through to help a young mother who needed your help.  I'll be posting more details in the Guerilla Giving section soon.  In the meantime, here's a pic of some of what we donated and a note from the mom's sister-in-law.  While it is addressed to me, I should point out that all I did was run around picking up all the stuff that you guys came up with.  :)  It's a good thing that you know what you're doing, I spent ten minutes baffled by the array of diapers available at the grocery store.  Special thanks to Jodi Cianci, Jenn McKnight, Jennifer Mackie, Trisha, Jody Brian, Bridget Murphy, Michael Dupuis, Meagan Cochrane, Susan, and the staff at Roots Kanata.  Thanks again everyone, nice work.

 Sincerely,

 

Keith Murphy

 President

 

Nice Work!

And here's the thank you note I received:

Thank you so much. Because of you, My sister in-law will be all set with her twins. The thought of being 18, single, and a new mom of twins CRIES HELP!!!  The clothes are absolutely sweet, and the toys will entertain the kids for years to come. This will be a huge weight off her shoulders. ESPECIALLY around this time of year (Christmas)  I cant ever thank you enough for what you have done for my family. So very thoughtful and generous of you. Thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to help strangers in need.  The best of luck with your organization. One Dollar Nation will be very successful, because of your HUGE heart .

 
Merry Christmas to you and you family :)
Thanks again

 

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 December 2008 )
 
Young people impress me - December 5th, 2008

Do you remember when you were young and everyone told you how lucky you were for it?  All of the grown-ups and old people were constantly reminding you of how lucky you were to be young.  It always irritated me because it was implying that your life, your problems, your fears were somehow less important than theirs.  Granted, you didn’t have a mortgage, kids or a career.  You weren’t too concerned with interest rates and you weren’t worrying about providing for anyone else.  Still, does everyone not remember how hard it really was?

Everything is relative.  The problems you had in high school were just as daunting as any that you might face now.  Sure, we can look back and think how silly we were to worry so much about some things but that doesn’t lessen how very real they were to us at the time.  If anything, I’ve become better at dealing with things since then.  I imagine that when I’m 65 I’ll look back and laugh at myself for being so concerned with things at 33.  I hope so, anyway.  I suppose the ultimate perspective comes when you know you are facing death.  Will you really look back and think “thank God I locked in that fixed rate”? 

In the end, our lives are defined by our relationships.  Somehow I doubt that your job, your house, your pension, your car, will be all that important to you on your deathbed.  What will be important is your family, your friends and the people that you care about.  Besides, your house won’t care that you’re gone and your employer will have found someone to replace you.  The only way in which these things matter is in relation to the people in your life.  Our most important problems, fears and challenges all stem from our personal relationships, not the artifice of our everyday lives. 

When we’re young, we have less in the way of these constructed issues.  I think our time spent in school is perhaps the most challenging given that most of our focus is on our socialization.  If our most important challenges are those in our personal lives does it not make sense that it would be harder for us when that is the biggest portion of our lives? 

We tend to be forgetful creatures.  We have to be.  If we remembered in detail every mistake, every embarrassing moment, we’d spend our days curled up in bed twitching.  I still want to do that some days, but for the most part we gloss over the past with the fine veneer of nostalgia.  We look back at our time in high school as a magical era where we didn’t have any real problems or concerns.  We forget about the embarrassing moments and the awkward times, the stress.  We tell ourselves that they were carefree days full of parties and fun.  Then we meet some young people and remind them how lucky they are.

I had a great time in high school.  I miss those days.  Looking back, things were easier.  But that’s only looking back.  Take a moment and think really hard.  If you have a journal or a diary from those days, look through it.  Chances are good that those days weren’t as carefree as you might think. 

The reason I’m ranting about high school is that I’ve had the occasion to have some contact with young people recently.  It’s strange, because I really don’t feel any different from when I was in high school.  I have more fat, more wrinkles and less hair, but I still feel like the same person.  I mentioned this to my mom once.  She laughed and told me “Keith I still don’t feel any different and I’m 25 years older than you”. 

You’ll notice on our Corporate Citizens page that we’ve got the WebbLyman/Chang house as a supporter.  This is a group of young students in Jakarta who have donated and offered us their support.  To say that I’m impressed is an understatement.  You’ll also notice the Shout Out Theatre group.  Last week, I went and spoke with this group about One Dollar Nation.    I’ll post an excerpt from that discussion as soon as I get used to seeing my bald spot in HD.

What’s most impressive to me about these two groups is that they are young.  They’re in the middle of a million things.  School, friends, parents, etc.; they’re dealing with the most important things in life.  They’ve got lots of problems and challenges like the rest of us, if not more.  At the same time, they don’t have the income that most of us have.  What they give to support us is coming from the limited means that they have available to them.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have much money when I was 14.  What money I had I spent on myself, I can assure you.  Still, both of these groups have pledged their support to One Dollar Nation. 

I had a long discussion with the Shout Out group about One Dollar Nation and what we we're trying to accomplish.  I got lots of great ideas from them and am so happy that I got the chance to meet them.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to meet the other group of students in the future.  I can’t tell you how encouraging it is for me personally to see these young people come on board.  I get excited every single time a name pops up on the Citizens page.  To see two groups of students take the time and effort to do so is truly motivating and I’d like to thank each and every one of them.

 

Don’t worry, I still reminded them of how lucky they were to be young.

 

Keith Murphy

President

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 December 2008 )
 
The great gas scam - November 24th, 2008

A few months ago, I was getting out of my car when a lady approached me asking for help.  She told me that she had run out of gas and that she had left her wallet at home.  She went on about her daughter being in the hospital and something or other about her husband.  I didn't really listen much past the "I'm out of gas" part.  I keep a gas can in my trunk and proceeded to drive to the closest gas station.  I put some gas in her car for her, made sure it started and then handed her a gift card for $25 from the gas station.  She seemed a bit taken aback at the gift card, but thanked me and left.  Not a big deal, I've run out of gas before and am more than happy to help if I can.

 Last week I was talking to my mother who happened to mention a friend of hers had discovered a scammer in my area.  As it turns out, her friend had run into the same woman, in the same area, telling the same story.  She then saw the woman doing the same thing a few weeks later and confronted her about it.  So, I got scammed.  This woman makes a habit of "running out of gas" and then relying on the kindness of strangers to make money.  

I suppose I should be angrier than I am.  I think it's disgusting and weak to prey on other people's generosity.  Having said that, I'm not all that upset.  If this woman's life is so empty that she's willing to lie and degrade herself in that way, all the best to her.  At least now I know why she seemed disappointed in the gift card.  I hope she bought $25 of motor oil or someting equally enjoyable.    If that's how you want to live your life, you can enjoy my $25.

 Since we launched One Dollar Nation, I've had people tell me all kinds of disturbing things.  People have asked me why I would bother.  People have asked me what I get out of it.  People have suggested that it's a scam.  People have said that we should just "let nature take it's course".  After I told a few people about getting scammed by the gas lady, some of them said "that's why I don't help people".  I've even been told that "money can only create problems, not solve them".  

 If this is how you feel, then One Dollar Nation certainly isn't the place for you.  I bother because I enjoy helping people and think people are worthy of help.  I don't get a paycheque, but I do get a lot of satisfaction.  If it's a scam, it's the most unsuccessful scam I've ever encountered.  Most scams earn you money as opposed to costing you money.   If you think we should just "let nature take it's course", I suggest you stop visiting your doctor and your dentist.  Better yet,  encourage your entire family to "let nature take it's course".  Saying that you don't help people because there are too many scammers out there is like saying that you shouldn't have friends because there are bad friends out there.  As for money not being able to solve problems?  Try living without money for a week or so and tell me if you have more or less problems in your life.

 As for me, the next time I see someone on the side of the road asking for help, I'll pull out my gas can and give them a gift card.  I'm not about to let one scammer steal the pleasure of helping from me.

 

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 01 December 2008 )
 
We bought a cow! - November 14th, 2008

 

 

We have purchased our cow!  Thanks to all of your efforts, we have donated a dairy cow in partnership with Heifer International.  Our cow will provide a family with up to 4 gallons of milk per day.  The milk which isn’t used to nourish the family can be sold to provide additional income.  Her manure can be used as fertilizer to help grow crops; she can haul heavy loads and can also be rented to neighbours for extra income.

 

Your contributions over the last 30 days will have an immeasurable impact on the lives of a family in desperate need.  The money that you donated has generated a dairy cow.  That dairy cow will generate nourishment and income.  These will generate health, opportunity, education, and perhaps most importantly, hope.  Because of you, a family will have a far better future.  Because of you, they will eat better, feel better and sleep better.  Further, because our cow’s offspring will be given to another struggling family, your lonely dollars will continue to benefit people for years to come.    

Our motto is “A little change can change a lot”.  I can’t imagine a better example of those words in action.  I’ve said before that one idea, one person, one dollar, can change the world.  We’ve just proven that to be true.  Your support, your contribution, your dollar, has just changed the world for people who were in dire need of help.  You did that.  We did that.  I couldn’t be happier.  I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last month.    I’m proud of all of you for being a part of it.  I sincerely hope that you are as well. 

 

Our cow’s name is......Pandora!  With 43% of your votes, Pandora is the name we’ve given to our dairy cow.  Tied for second place were Umoja and Petunia.  I’d like to thank everyone who suggested a name and voted on the forums.  Your input is most appreciated.  If you’re not familiar with the story of Pandora, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

 In Greek mythology, Pandora (from Greek: Πανδώρα, "giver of all, all-endowed"[1]) was the first woman. Each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts.  Her other name, is Anesidora, "she who sends up gifts."[2] According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos) in modern accounts referred to as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of mankind-leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again.

 

Now that we’ve got our first project taken care of, it’s time to announce our second project.  Based on your votes in our forums, our second project will be to provide a microloan through our friends at Kiva. If you’re not familiar with them, you can check out their site at http://www.kiva.org   They’ve got an incredible set up, and I’m happy that we’ll be able to support their efforts.  Again, thank you for your votes on the site.

 

That’s it for now.  I’ll be posting more information about Pandora soon.  In the meantime, let’s get working on lending some money.  :) If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for a dollar a month.  We’ve changed the world for one family, let’s keep it going.  I’d like to thank everyone who has registered and donated.  Further, I’d like to thank everyone for their support and suggestions.  I’d especially like to thank Holly Paulin for her guidance and advice; she’s been a great source of motivation and information. 

Thanks again, everyone.  We’ve done a good thing and I’m honoured to be a part of it.  Before you go to sleep tonight, take a moment to think of Pandora being delivered to that family.  Take a moment to think of what she’ll mean to them.  Take a moment to think of what we’ve accomplished.  It may not seem like much to us, but to that family it means everything. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Keith Murphy

President

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 November 2008 )
 
Cows and candy. October 31st, 2008

 It's been almost three weeks since our official launch.  I just wanted to post a quick update and answer a couple of questions that have come up since then.  Having said that, no matter how hard I try to be brief it never works out that way.  I'll apologize in advance.

 First of all, I want to thank all of you for your generous support of One Dollar Nation and myself.  Over the last 3 weeks,we've added almost 60 citizens.  That's a great start and hopefully just the beginning.  I know that many people have had problems registering and donating.  We have recently changed how this process works and hope that it rectifies any problems.  If you have had any trouble signing up, please try again now.  If you are still having issues, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   My apologies for any difficulties that you may have had, I appreciate your patience.

As of this moment, we are only $15 away from buying a dairy cow.  It's almost embarrassing how excited I am by this.  When people ask me how I'm doing, I keep answering: "Great, buying a cow next week."  Get your friends, family, colleagues, and company signed up and let's get this heifer milking!  We've had a lot of great suggestions for names in both the forums and the facebook group.  I've posted a poll on the site, citizens can log in and vote for their favourite there.  I'll tally the votes next week, so get logged in and name our cow.

We've added a few questions to the FAQ .  If you have a question that you don't see there, send it along and we'll post it.  One question that I'd like to address in a bit more detail here concerns how your donations are allocated.  Specifically, a few people have asked how much of their donation is going directly to the project.  This is a great question, and frankly it should have been on the FAQ from the start.

Currently, between 91% and 97% of all funds received are being directed to the projects.  The reason for the range is simply that the processing fees which we pay vary depending on the amount donated.  As it stands, the only portion of your donation that does not go directly to the project is the fee which Paypal charges us to process it.  All startup, development and operating expenses are being funded privately.

I realize that there is some faith involved in this, and we truly appreciate your faith in us.  Hopefully, as we complete more projects together that faith will only grow.  It is of course in our best interest to be financially transparent and good stewards of your donations.  We will certainly strive to be both.  We're just getting started with One Dollar Nation.  We're still learning and still working out some bugs.  Questions like this are perfect because they help us to realize the issues facing both us and our supporters.  If you have any questions about this or anything else, feel free to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it directly or post in our forums.

So there you have it.  Roughly 3 weeks and we've almost got a cow.  I'm proud of that, and I hope that you are too.  Let's get some more people on board and get her on her way.  Send out those emails, make those calls, invite those friends, and post your ideas.  We've got a lot of great things ahead.  We need all the people and all the help we can get.  I'm already excited about our next project.

Lastly, a special thank you to Wade Bartley and Tessa Webb for all their help over the last two weeks.  I owe both of you.  Happy Halloween.  I hope your evening was filled with candy, costumes and carnage.

Keith Murphy

President 

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 November 2008 )
 
Wash some windows and get a haircut. October 21 2008

Well, it's been a busy week.  I don't think I've ever received so many emails.  Okay.  Maybe I have, but I've certainly never answered so many.  I've been doing my best to thank all of you who have written and signed up.  My apologies if I'm slow getting back to you.  It's been great to see names start popping up on the Citizen's pages.  I appreciate each and every one of you who have offered up your support for One Dollar Nation.  I've seen the names of some old friends as well as some that I've never seen before.  Both of which give me hope that together, we can make this work.  It's nice to be doing something instead of just talking about something.  I hope that all of you whom have joined feel the same way. 

 Late last week, I decided to do something a bit odd.  I went out to a random street in town, and offered to wash windows for free.  We plan on doing things like this as part of our Guerilla Giving initiative, and I wanted to guage the reception we'd get.  I'll be posting more information on this soon, it promises to be pretty fun.  It's also a great way to help local organizations and spread the word about the Nation. Personally, I feel if we're going to ask people to do something for us and expect nothing in return, then we should be willing to do the same.

So, there I was.  I had a bucket, a squeegee, and a streetful of businesses with filthy windows.  Not quite a squeegee kid, but not quite a professional either.  I approached maybe 20 businesses over the course of a few hours, yet only 9 or 10 would let me wash their windows.  The reactions ranged from mild amusement, to disbelief, to outright hostility.  i didn't expect everyone to be happy to see me, but I was surprised that people were quite so jaded.  A few were determined that once we washed their windows we'd be back asking for money, and a few were just happy to have clean windows.  I can understand their suspicions, but I didn't think it would be so hard to do something nice for someone.  Overall, it was a lot of fun and I'm certainly looking forward to our next outing.  If you have any ideas for us, be sure to let us know in our forums

 While I'm speaking of random kindness, I should tell you about the haircut I got today.  I had an appointment with my dentist this afternoon, and ran next door to Salon Visions of Style for a quick cut.  I'd never been in there, and before long my stylist Lan was asking me about my job.  I spoke briefly about One Dollar Nation and what we were trying to achieve.  She was very polite, but didn't say too much on the subject.  When Lan was finished, I stood up and took out my wallet to pay.  She refused to take any payment, much less a tip for the great job she had just done.  She even offered to place some business cards on her counter for us.  She was adamant about the payment, so I gave her a hug and left.  

 Now I knew what those people felt like when I tried to wash their windows.  More so in my case, because I walked in with every expectation of paying.  It's a strange feeling, but a good one.  It certainly put a smile on my face.  Thanks for both the cut and the smile, Lan.  There's no doubt I'll be back soon; as a paying customer this time.  

 I'll have some updates regarding both our current project and our first guerilla giving event soon.   We've made some changes to the registration/donation process.  If you ran into any problems previously, they should all be sorted out now.  Post in the forums or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it if you still have any difficulties.  We're having some issues with facebook, so please be patient.  In all likelihood, we'll be reverting from our current page to our old facebook group in the next couple of days.  It's a long story, but I think that the group suits our current needs more than the page. 

Again, thanks for everything this past week.  Keep sending out those emails and talking to your friends about us.  Also, be sure to introduce yourselves in our forums and pick a name for the cow that we'll be purchasing shortly.  So far, suggestions have ranged from Pandora, Udders, and Tinkerbell, to Tyra Banks.  I don't quite understand the last one, but who am I to judge?  We'd also love to hear any ideas and suggestions that you might have for us.  Take care.

 

Keith Murphy

 

President

One Dollar Nation

 

 

 
And so it begins...

We've officially launched and are out in the open.  I know I just missed Thanksgiving, but I wanted to give some thanks just the same.  This project would not have been possible without the help and support of so many people.  I'd be lying if I told you that I wasn't mildly terrified.  It's been a long, hard road.  I'm sure it will get harder.  I can't stress enough how much your support has meant and will continue to mean to me. 

 

 First of all, thank you to John Cianci and Rob Clark for working with me on this and being directors for the organization.  It's been two and a half years since Rob and I sat at the bar scribbling on our bills.  I've carried that receipt in my wallet as a reminder ever since.  Thanks to Jim Nicol from Psycho, Tessa Webb Lyman, Rachel Potvin, Stu Sutton, Matt Benning and Sarah Selamou for listening to me rant about this project and giving me advice.  I'll be looking for more soon, I'm sure.  Thanks to Gilles Gregoire at Stay Creative, Keith MacEwen at Big Dog Networks and Joe Addink at Paypal for going through hell with me on this.  You have no idea what I've put them through.  Thanks to Jason Hamilton for coming through in a big way on the merchandise site-look for it soon.  Thanks to everyone who came out for our little launch party.  It meant a lot to me to see so many of you there.  Thanks to my friends and family for putting up with me all this time and not openly calling me crazy.  Thanks to everyone who's already signed up and joined the facebook group.  This is your project as much as mine.  I'll do my best to justify your support.  Lastly, I want to say thanks to you; whomever may be reading this.  I appreciate your interest and your support.

As my friend Kristin said to me last week, if we help one person, it will have been worthwhile.  This is just something that we have to do.  The potential is huge.  Let's say that thirty people got three of their friends to sign up in the first month.    Now if each of those three got three more people to sign up in the second month and so on, we'd be at over fifteen and a half million members a year from now.  Seriously.  Obviously, there are a hundred different reasons why that won't happen.  All I'm saying is that it's possible.   The internet is a wonderful tool.  It's a great place to steal copyrighted material, browse porn, gamble, watch kids make fools of themselves and generally waste every spare minute we've got.  By all means, keep doing all of the above.  I just hope we can use it for something else too.  Granted, I'm not as entertaining, but I'll do my best.

 

Thanks again,

 

Keith Murphy

 

President

One Dollar Nation

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 October 2008 )
 
September 15th, 2008

One Dollar Nation has been in the works for almost three years now.  It started one night when I read about Alex Tew.  If you don't remember his name, you might remember his website.  Alex started selling pixels on a blank page for a dollar a piece.  His goal was to make enough money for his tuition.  Five months later, every pixel was sold and he had made one million dollars.  I remember thinking how silly it was.  Silly and brilliant.

    I'm glad that he got the money for his tuition.  I think he deserved every penny.  I also kept wondering what I would do with that money.  The more I thought about it, the more brilliant it seemed to me.  One dollar a pixel.  If he'd asked for ten dollars a pixel, would he have succeeded?  I doubt it.  Just about anyone can afford a dollar.  Certainly anyone with an internet connection can.  Twenty minutes later, the framework for One Dollar Nation was formed.

    One dollar, every month from as many people as possible.  A community of people dedicated to doing good things for no other reason than the fact that they are good things.  If a 21 year old can make a million dollars to pay his tuition, how much could we generate to make the world a better place?

    One dollar a month can't do anything by itself.  A million people donating a dollar a month?  That's enough money to change the world for thousands of people.  There's over 330 million people in North America alone.  If we got a dollar a month for each of them we could change the world for everyone.

    I don't think everyone in the world will ever, or should ever be shopping for expensive shoes in luxury cars.  That's not the point.  The point is that for next to nothing we can drastically improve the lives of millions of people.  We can cure diseases, educate, and feed.  We can do all this without changing our lives at all.

    That's why we're talking about a dollar.  Like many of you, I've struggled with money.  I've wondered how I was going to pay the bills, wondererd what I was going to eat.  I've been embarrassed when people came to the door asking for money and I had nothing to give.  I would have been too ashamed to offer them a dollar, but a dollar would have been about all I could have scrounged up for them.  That dollar though, is what over a billion people have to make it through the day.  Nobody reading this can tell me that they can't afford a dollar a month.  Nobody.

    Am I fooling myself?  Maybe.  Am I a dreamer?  Certainly.  I don't care.  This is something that I have to do.  This is something that we have to do.  I'm not looking to solve all the world's problems.  I just know that there's a lot of things in this world that make no sense to me.  It makes no sense to me that half the world's population lives on less than $2 per day.  It makes no sense to me that a child dies of hunger every three seconds.  It makes no sense to me that almost a million people a year die from measles when a vaccine is avalable at a cost of less than a dollar.  Mostly, it makes no sense that most of us do nothing to help.

    The Internet is an amazing thing.  World of Warcraft has over 10 million people paying around $15 a month to play.  I have no problem with that.  Personally I think capitalism and the free market economy are phenomenal.  I hope everyone playing that game enjoys every minute of it and it's creators make a fortune from it.  What I'd like to see though, is that 10 million people spending an additional dollar a month to help someone else.  I'd also like to see that company donating a dollar from each subscription.  There are almost 100 million users on myspace.  Facebook has another 50 million or so.  A video of a kid pretending to be a Star Wars character has been watched 900 million times.  Let's see how many of those people are willing to drop a dollar a month.

    Why call it One Dollar Nation?  We want this to be a community.  The only thing that can make this work is people.  We're giving you a voice.  We're putting your name right up on our site.  We're giving you a place to communicate.  We're letting you decide where the money goes.  We're asking for your help and depending on you.  This whole thing is about the power of one.  The power of one dollar.  The power of one person.  The power of one idea.  I truly believe that one dollar, one person, one idea can change the world.  But we can only do it together.  An idea needs believers.  A person needs supporters.  A dollar needs a purpose.

    I've been waiting a long time for this.  I wanted the site to be just right.  I wanted the perfect words, the perfect pictures, the perfect host, the perfect payment solution etc.  I realize now though, that everything is never going to be perfect.  Sometimes it's not about how you do something, it's just about doing it.  When people used to come to my door asking for a donation I shouldn't have been embarrassed.  It's not a question of how much you give, just that you give.  So here we go.  I'll be updating the blog fairly often as a way to share this journey with you.  There's a lot of things that we want to add and do in the future.  For now, we're just going to start.  With your help, we'll get there.  

 

 Sincerely,

 Keith Murphy

 

President

One Dollar Nation 

 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 December 2008 )
 
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