Despite the bloodshed and social havoc that arose from the French Revolution ending in 1789, a distinct social contract developed that forever altered mankind’s perception of our obligatory responsibility for the less fortunate among us. The phrase Noblesse Oblige, loosely translated as “the obligation of the nobility,” came to commonly refer as the social obligation of those with wealth, position, influence, titles or higher education to share their good fortune among those in society with far fewer blessings. This was a direct repudiation of the long held societal belief that noble positions were divine grants from God Himself that set certain individuals on untouchable pedestals of superiority over their fellow man. Since that time, there has been a constant social debate between the “haves” & the “have nots” regarding justice, equality, and economic equilibrium. Throughout the three and half centuries since the end of the French Revolution, humanity has incessantly struggled with competing dogmas such as capitalism versus egalitarianism, democracy versus socialism, and deism versus humanism. In the end, the human species continues to search for a solution to our ever growing competition between limited resources and an expanding population.
Fortunately for me, my “adopted” family and Jesuit educators instilled a life-long belief in the “Golden Rule” — “do unto others as you would have done to you.” Though I was never fortunate to obtain wealth, position, influence or a title, my life has been undeniably blessed by an excellent education. Furthermore, as my first book Adversity Builds Character so aptly demonstrates, I would not be where I am today were it not for the gracious generosity of others. This is undeniably true as well in my new found career as an aspiring author. Therefore, it would be sinful and completely demeaning to me as a human being if I did not “share the wealth!”
To quote one of my political ideologues, “We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.” —Ronald Reagan With this noble philosophy in mind, I have spent my life raising money for charitable causes in a determined, if not altogether frustrating, quest to make the world a better place. Since the age of nine when I first started volunteering for the Shreveport Summer Music Festival, through the next three decades raising money for worthy political and social causes, until today, I have been a vigorous proponent of trying to utilize my talents for the betterment of all mankind. My writing career is no exception.
Since the publishing of Adversity Builds Character two years ago, I have been completely transparent that every book copy sold would contribute in some way to one or more charities. My book signings and online sales have raised monies for the American Red Cross to help victims of super storm Sandy, 501(c)3 AIDS outreach charities such as the UCLSE/ICFWA/ICAO/AOC & The Philadelphia Center, and now through my two month fundraising effort, The Stand Strong For Others Campaign, I am donating 25% of all my book sales to “the world’s largest international charity for children.” These funds will go directly to assist disabled children. Though my campaign goal is modest, a mere $500 or approximately 400-500 book copies, it is deeply troublesome that this effort has received hardly any public media attention or for that matter resulted in any significant number of sales. My books are said to be “inspirational” and “uplifting” to those who have read and reviewed them. Yet despite campaign efforts championing this charity fund drive as a meaningful way to simultaneously obtain a worthwhile literary work and contribute directly towards improving the lives of crippled children, no one seems to take heed.
At this point in time, due to the organization’s licensing criteria, I am unable to use their name or logo in my promotional efforts. It was instructed to me by their USA Fund coordinator to say funds raised would go to “the world’s largest international charity for children.” After due diligent research I can assure all consumers that this charitable organization is held to the highest American and international standards for charitable donations and is in fact accountable to numerous United Nations conventions for assistance to children. I have been assured that the monies raised from the campaign’s book sales will be targeted specifically to assist physically challenged children. I am encouraged by the recent partnership of fellow author Lester W. Van Huss’ commitment to donate 10% of his book sales during the campaign period towards Stand Strong For Others’ fundraising endeavors. It is just such generosity that I had hoped the campaign’s efforts would generate. So far the event on Facebook has attracted 66 attendees out of 2200 invitations and continues to grow daily (go to this link to join and see regular updates.)
After decades of fundraising experience, I am well aware of realistic expectations regarding public support for charitable causes. Each and every dollar raised is a contribution that was non-existent before and deeply appreciated. I have carefully calculated a realistic goal for the campaign and specifically timed the fundraising drive to coincide with the holiday season for maximum appeal to the public’s generosity. Yet this is my frustration: when one considers the purchase of an “inspirational” book that demonstrates success in overcoming adversity for merely $2-$3 and knowing that it will directly benefit a crippled child, how can consumers possibly not be moved? The purchase price is the equivalent of buying a gallon of milk, and in return the consumer provides food, healthcare, shelter, education, and necessary medical equipment while holding in their hand a book that may very well change their own life! TALK ABOUT BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!
Novel Reads, the e-magazine produced by Novel Ideas, reached over 5,000 readers last month. My request is very simple. If every person who reads this article will take the time to either purchase a book in the campaign or spread the word by sharing the link and campaign banner below, even better yet, DO BOTH, the result will be monumental! Five minutes of your time and two measly dollars out of your pocket will as the CNN slogan declares…IMPACT YOUR WORLD! Your time and money won’t be wasted on helping yet another author with his career. Rather, both will be wisely spent making the world a better place.