giving to growing hope before the year ends

One of my favorite local non-profits is Growing Hope. I wrote to Amanda Edmonds, their Executive Director, yesterday and asked her for a quick end-of-year appeal that I could reprint here. Linette and I had been thinking about making a last-minute contribution, and it occurred to me that there might be other people out there in the audience willing to do the same. Following is Amanda’s response:

Growing Hope depends on donations from community members near and far to keep our operations running. We, as many organizations, do a whole lot with a very very little amount of money, but those individual donors are what lets us pay the basic bills necessary to stay afloat. It’s those sort of things that are very hard to find grant and other monies to fund, in part because they are less glamorous sounding (“help us pay for out audit and liability insurance!!” doesn’t sound so sexy). Whether you’re here in Ypsi or Washtenaw County, or someone who believes in healthy food access, urban agriculture, and school gardens from afar, we hope you’ll support us. If you pay by credit card or write that check today, it can still count as a 2007 donation.

Also, there’s this super cool facebook grant competition being funding by the Case Foundation. They’re testing to see how online giving through social networking sites can make a real impact, and between now and February 13 is a competition to see what “cause” on facebook can have the most donors (donating $10 minimum). The top cause will get a $50K grant, the second $25, and third $10K. For Growing Hope, that’s significant money! Also, in every 24 hour period between now and then, the cause with the most donors in that period gets $1000. So if you are already on facebook, or feel inclined to join, join our cause at here, and if you’re cool like that, donate $10 (or more!)… and recruit others to join and do the same. $10 ain’t much, but with 10 other people is $100! You can see a NY Time article about it here.

Our website also has some embedded flickr slideshows– one of a few of our favorite pics of 2007… and another of people around town wearing our hip GH t-shirts that are for sale. And, you can still get our 2008 calendars online and at the Ypsi Co-op and Bombadills….

The last time I wrote about Growing Hope, I got an email from a former Ann Arborite currently traveling in the Netherlands. She was checking up on my site from a coffeeshop, read about Growing Hope, and made a contribution. It was one of those rare times that I felt like this blog was actually worth the time I put into it. At any rate, I’m posting this here today in hopes that someone else out there might have a few dollars to contribute to a very good cause.

Happy New Year.

Posted in Ypsilanti | 1 Comment

someone wasn’t buying it

I just snapped this a few minutes ago while out walking the dog. Apparently, someone on Michigan Avenue wasn’t buying in to the whole feel-good “no man is a failure who has friends” message of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Posted in Ypsilanti | 9 Comments

ringing in the new year the right way

I realize this probably only applies to about one in a thousand of my readers, but I wanted to let you know that one of my favorite online radio stations, Radio Dismuke, has a special lineup planned for New Year’s Eve. If you don’t already have plans, and if you enjoy listening to pre-WWII jazz, check it out. I caught some of last year’s show and it was incredible. The live broadcast will run from 10:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST. (The entire program will be rebroadcast on New Year’s day between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM EST.)

Also, while we’re on the subject of damned good music, the best local radio show we’ve got here in southeast Michigan, Arwulf’s “Sunday Best,” will be live tomorrow morning between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM EST on WEMU, 89.1 FM. Those of you not in the area can listen online… Seriously, it’s brilliant radio.

The band pictured here is one of cornet-player Joe “King” Oliver’s. If you’d like to hear some real “Hot Jazz,” just click here and prepare to have your mind blown by the “King.” You won’t be sorry.

There’s no better way to start the new year, in my opinion, than with these folks. No offense to Dick Clark, but Miley Cyrus and the rest of the lineup at this year’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” aren’t talented enough to wipe the sweat from King Oliver’s balls. (Sorry if that sounds crude. The truth sometimes is.)

Posted in Art and Culture | 3 Comments

contemplating the new year

Posted in Mark's Life | 7 Comments

another update from the edwards campaign in iowa

Robert just wrote in with an update from the Edwards campaign headquarters in Iowa. Here it is:

I have traveled around to many more parts of Iowa now, and I have a lot of very positive news to report regarding Edwards’ prospects here.

First off, the Edwards Campaign is really kicking into high gear now, and I am happy to report that I see no serious “cracks” in the organization or in our base of support here. Where I was a little worried a while back about the level of experience among the Edwards staff, I can report now that the situation with that is improving by the minute, as much more seasoned folks are arriving from DC and Chapel Hill.

The situation “outside” is good too. I feel very confident that Edwards is going to win in the rural areas of the west and north by significant margins. You can definitely get that sense pretty soon after spending a little time out there. A number of prominent politicians in those areas have expressed this off the record a well.

I think our biggest challenges are going to be in the areas around Ames and Iowa City, where candidate preferences seem to be almost random, and Edwards just doesn’t seem to be “out-there” enough for many potential caucusers (Ron Paul is going to do well in these areas on the Republican side). Obama is strong in these areas, and Hillary seems to have a very solid base of support in those communities too. Fortunately for us, the manipulations of the caucus/primary order have placed the Iowa Caucus on a day when these big university towns are semi-ghost towns, and their impact on the statewide results will be significantly reduced as a result.

Another great thing I can report is that Edwards seems to be enjoying very low negatives compared to the other candidates. Hillary’s negatives seem to be the highest and many people cite her as the reason they are voting for someone else. Of course most of this is really unfounded and unfair to her, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a very real problem for her. Obama’s negatives aren’t quite so high, but they are definitely a factor for him as well. Edwards’ negatives are so low that he is managing to maintain a considerable lead in terms of caucusers second choice. This could be a determining factor in a significant number of precincts, as to who grabs those loose delegates.

The most positive thing I’ve been seeing and hearing over the period of the last few days is the apparent growing awareness among the likely caucus goers that a southerner would have a significant advantage in the general election. Many late deciders seem to be making their decisions on this fact. Even a few Hillary and Obama supporters have been switching over and citing it as their reason for doing so. It’s a very positive development for Edwards, and one I would have not predicted a few weeks ago.

The good news for Edwards supporters in Michigan (and IN, IL, and WI) is that they don’t have to drive hours deep into Iowa to get to a place where they are most needed. I say this because I believe the cities right along the eastern edge of the state, on the Mississippi River, are the “battleground” areas. One example, Davenport, is only a two and a half hour drive beyond Chicago. Burlington, Muscatine and Dubuque are three more which are just across the river from Illinois.

If we can hold our own in the battlegrounds along the Mississippi, I think we’ll have this thing won.

So, do I have any other readers heading to Iowa to join Robert? If so, send me photos and updates. The caucus is just 6 days away now… If you can’t get out to help in person, how about contributing a few bucks? I’m sure it would go to good use.

[And all the photos were wiped out in the infamous Iranian Hacker Attack, but, those of you who are interested can still read about my meeting with John Edwards here.]

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments


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