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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  


Hi there - January 24th, 2009

Hi.  My name is Keith.  I’m the Founder and President of One Dollar Nation.  If you’re reading this, then I imagine you already know who I am.  Kind of.   You see, since launching ODN a few months back I’ve been suffering from an identity crisis of sorts.  I’ve struggled with how to present myself and ODN to others.  On one hand, I want ODN to appear polished and professional.  On the other, I want to be myself.

The website looks pretty.  The goals are noble.  I am neither of these.  I’m the last guy anyone would expect to start a non-profit.  If you don’t believe me, ask my family and friends.  I kept this a secret for almost three years partly because I knew not many would believe me until it was up and running.  I like profit.  I can’t say that I’ve seen much of it over the years, but I still hope to someday.  I also tend to scorn technology and the internet.  Naturally, the thing to do was to start an online non-profit.  If nothing else, I do love dichotomy.

I don’t fit the average do-gooder mould.  I favour capitalism and the free market economy.  I tend to trust in business more than government.  I enjoy the privilege of being a consumer.  I don’t buy fair trade anything, and Sam Walton is a personal hero of mine.  I eat fast food daily; sometimes while parked with the engine running.  I buy reusable grocery bags, but always forget to bring them with me.  I don’t run, do Pilates, or any sort of physical activity, really.  I lived overseas for two years and didn’t even “find myself”.  I’m angry and jaded.  I tend to ignore social niceties, and am a fan of brutal honesty.

I’m often told that I’m too pessimistic, but I don’t think so.  The world and the people in it just tend to irritate me.  If I’m pessimistic, it’s simply because I’m so optimistic.  I think people can be better than they are.  I think we’re better than we know.  What makes me crazy is that it would take so little to make things so much better.  We don’t have to be paragons of virtue.  We don’t have to be perfect.  How boring would that be?  We can be better, though.  We should be better.

Over the last few months I’ve tried to act proper.  I’ve tried not to argue with people when they tell me that “money can’t solve anything” or “I only give locally”.  I’ve held my tongue when they asked “what do you get out of it” or suggested that ODN was a scam.  I think I’m done acting proper.  The problem with acting proper is that we’d end up sounding like every other organization out there begging for help.  I have nothing but praise for these organizations, but I don’t want ODN to be a faceless entity.  I want this to be a community and a community is comprised of people.  People aren’t perfect.  People have opinions and make mistakes.  People don’t always keep their mouths shut for fear of offending someone.

As for me personally, I just need to be myself.  One Dollar Nation is my dream.  After my family, it’s the most important thing in my life.  I find it hard to speak with conviction while trying to sound proper and professional.  If I’m not humble enough while asking for your support, it’s because I truly feel that you should support us.  If I get angry when you question my motives, it’s because I’m genuinely insulted.  I do take this personally.  If I didn’t, would you really want to support us?  It’s not that I don’t understand people’s feelings.  I get it, I just hope that they get it too.  I’m proud of ODN and what we’ve done thus far.  I’m proud every time a name pops up on the site.  I’m happy every time an email comes in and I love when someone asks me what I do for a living.  

I may not use the right language and terminology.  I may not be a professional speaker.  I may disagree with you politically, economically and every other way imaginable.  I can assure you of one thing, however.  I believe in One Dollar Nation.  I am passionate about who we are and what we’re doing.  If nothing else, I hope that is apparent.

Having said all that, I’m done trying to be Mr. Founder and President of a non-profit organization.  I’m just going to be me.  I’m sure that some will be pleased, and others will be upset.  I don’t truly know if this will help our cause or hurt it.  I certainly hope it’s the former.  I just know that if I’m going to be convincing and passionate, I need to speak freely.  My apologies if you feel otherwise.

I feel like it’s fitting, really.  I’m not the average guy who normally gives to non-profits, much less the guy who starts one.  I’m just like everyone else.  I’m certainly not a hero or a saint.  Anyone can do this.  Everyone should do this.  That’s the whole idea is it not?  I’ve been told that I’m too intense.  I've been told that I’m flippant and don’t plead enough.  My apologies, but flowery prose about changing the world doesn’t change a thing.  Cash does.

We’ll see what happens.  All I can tell you is that I’ll do my best.

 

Sincerely,

 Keith

 
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