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21 February 2009 @ 01:09 am
Fandom: Charity Begins with Self-Promotion  
When someone says the word charity, the first things that pop into my mind are feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, or animal rescue. In no particular order, some of the groups that spring to my mind include: Habitat for Humanity, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Amnesty International and In Defense of Animals, as well as local food banks and church/civic groups that lend a helping hand to people in need.

As people wonder if they'll still have a job or a roof over their head within the next month; if they can afford their rent or their kid's braces; or if they can stretch their meals until their next paycheck, the need for those with a little extra to share with those without has never been greater. Fans, as a group and individually, have always been willing to come forward and share with others, to try to make a difference. Whether that's meant helping a fan attend a con or helping a fan with medical expenses, we've opened our hearts and, when we can, our wallets.

That's why I'm really boggled by the decision of the com con of Escapade 19. Their long-time charity -- Good Hearted People -- has had to close its doors (which is in itself a sad testament to the state of the economy and that so few people have money to donate), and they were left with attempting to find a last-minute replacement. With food banks closing because of both lack of donations and too many hungry families, with families losing their homes, with so many other humanitarian causes that the con could reach out to, that they have decided that their charity of choice for 2009 is the OTW? Just. No.
Bounce!partly_bouncy on February 21st, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for saying what I feel. Also, the other side of this is if you're that particular charity, knowing all the fans who are in need job wise, food wise,, housing wise, you should turn the opportunity to be the selected charity down. Both sides are being kind of icky here.
Dash O'Pepperpfeffermuse on February 21st, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
If OTW had, say, "A Fan in Need" division (where fellow fans could go for stop-gap help in a real-life emergency; or others could nominate a fan who had done a lot for their fannish community but doesn't have the money to attend a major fannish event), then designating them the con's charity of choice would make sense. They do have a connection throughout fandom, and could be a clearinghouse to help spread the word of a fannish whip'round or even to help separate legitimate needs from the con artists.

But right now, the decision is a poor choice.
sidewinder: umbrellasidewinder on February 21st, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
This. Yes. Thank you.

Most animal welfare and humanitarian charities are desperate for support and funds these days, given the economic crisis--and more people than ever are in need of their services. As such, I have a really hard time seeing this as the best choice for a convention charity. It ends up just seeming like greedy self-promotion and mixed-up priorities.
Dash O'Pepperpfeffermuse on February 21st, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you for summing up my post in a lot fewer words. ;-)

I have a friend who works for her local church. The stories she tells me about the food bank situation are depressing, and it's only going to get worse. Two of the food banks in her town have closed -- donations just couldn't meet the need -- and the various church and synagogue food banks are trying to ration and rotate so that there is always a place for someone to go.

Edited at 2009-02-21 05:07 pm (UTC)
sidewinder: Awarenesssidewinder on February 21st, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
That's really sad. And I keep hearing about animal shelters being at all-time high capacities because people can't afford to keep and feed their pets any longer.

I give a fair amount of money every year to various charity groups, but I'm very particular about who gets my money and making sure it's doing the most good. OTW wouldn't qualify for me in these times by a long shot, not even if I didn't have other issues with the organization.
laura_holt_pilaura_holt_pi on February 21st, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Incredible! I thought I'd seen the worst of OTW. Obviously not.
laura_holt_pilaura_holt_pi on February 21st, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
Don't know how long it will take them to delete it, but I said something about it http://community.livejournal.com/otw_news/45697.html?thread=978305#t978305

La Femme Crayola: Darkplace - Garth Marenghiannlarimer on February 21st, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
That's repulsive and stupid.