Crowdfunding Brooklyn Castle Update/WrapUp

So the Brooklyn Castle Crowdfunding campaign is over. Here is the project page that outlines what happened. If you don't want to click on that, a total of $67,784.99 was raised from 308 donors. Of that total, $57,617.24 went to IS 318 to fund their chess team. $10,167.75 went to DonorsChoose to support their classroom project crowdfunding platform.

The AVC community was a huge part of this. We provided the early funding that gets a project off the ground at DonorsChoose. We contributed $13,166 of the total and that came from 127 of you. I want to thank each and every one of you who gave. It means a lot to me and to the folks at DonorsChoose that the AVC community is so supportive of projects that I highlight here.

I promised a $10,000 match from the Gotham Gal and myself that never got contributed to this project. It was funded in its entirety without the help of that match. So we are going to contribute that $10k to another DonorsChoose chess project. It will either be next year's IS 318 campaign or possibly other NYC public school chess team projects. I will work that out with the DonorsChoose folks over the next few days. But rest assured that we are going to come up with that $10k as promised.

I'd like everyone to consider exactly what happened here. My friend Maureen pointed me to a blog post. I went and read it and thought, "there has to be a way to get this program funded." I got the assitant principal John Galvin's name from Maureen and emailed him. He agreed to do a DonorsChoose campaign. And then we and others got behind it. Now his kids have the funds to keep playing chess and winning tournaments and learning valuable life skills.

All of this happened on the Internet. I've never met John Galvin or any of his chess players. I've seen the movie though. That certainly helped a lot. If you havent' seen the movie, you really should. It's on Netflix (ie on the Internet). This global interconnected network that a couple billion people are on every day is a big deal and can be used to solve all sorts of problems. We just witnessed that. It feels good.

Update: John Galvin sent me this photo this morning. It is for all of you from the kids.

Thanks avc

#hacking education#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Glad to have helped here Fred.Raises something that I’ve been thinking about, about the split between the tech world and other parts of our culture.The tech world does a generally poor job of understanding markets. They see much through the lens of their unique empowerment, not the market behavior itself. But we really get community and how to use our platforms for change.General movements out there, be they saving the indigenous grapes of Slovinia or raising funds for social change, not so great in my opinion.Lending some of this power to the other areas, like this project, is a big step forward. Working on that cusp for change is a great spot to be in.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I wonder if we will see markets and community become intertwined.

      1. awaldstein

        It’s not a blanket truth.At times, the answer is I think. yes. Is Kickstarter a community or really a location? Nope. Does Kickstarter work because the web has enabled global communities of interest, without a doubt.And of course–whenever you start to think that avc is a model to replicate, beware! It’s a wondrous anomaly that is aspirational to capture new ways of doing it, not to replicate it.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Markets are community. They were the first communities. They are ingrained in man’s DNA.

          1. awaldstein

            Yup, part of who we are as people for certain.I don’t think though that all markets are communities necessarily even though we connect in groups around them all over the web.Some segments breed community through the social nature of the dynamics. Developers as a version of a pure maker movement are the best example.Natural wine as a tiny subsection of the wine market, yes. The $40B wine market in the US. No way.Great point but I think it bifurcates and is not necessarily true across even the majority of the permutations.

    2. LE

      “The tech world does a generally poor job of understanding markets.”The tech world at the base (they guys who are, say, engineers and computer nerds) believe that if they build a better mousetrap the world will simply beat a path to their door.Like musicians they have general disdain for anything business related that isn’t tied directly into their “craft” or the “art” that they are doing.All business guys are “tools” who have no clue. (If you watch the excellent netflix “tales of the script” which is about screen plays you will see the same behavior in the movie industry). I mean If the man only knew how good our stuff was. But he is clueless. In tech, all VC’s are leaches who take to much equity. All domains are overpriced and held by squatters why can’t they just be waiting for us when we do our great startup for the reg fee? We are all so deserving of everything once we create it it should just happen.This of course is not true. The business guys, marketing, gatekeepers, understanding markets and all of that provide tremendous value and are quite necessary and will always be needed for efficient functioning.

      1. Michael Rattner

        LE,I agree with you that most engineers don’t get how much work goes into selling a product that isn’t product design. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’ve done something truly unique, to realize that inventing the impossible is only the first step.However there is a fundamental inequality between VCs and entrepreneurs. I’m not sure what it is now, but I remember reading in the early 2000s that, given the VC batting average of 1 in 10 true successes, that meant that only 1 in 10 CEOs was becoming a multi millionaire. The flip side is that to make similar money, VCs had to average around 18-20% yearly returns, which was happening at a far higher percentage than 1 in 10 and with far less personal risk.And I think that inequality keeps popping up, or at least it feels like it keeps popping up. After developing a new product on a shoestring budget in a crappy office, most entrepreneurs file a few patents and it costs more than the production prototype. FDA regulation consultants, they’re doing the same thing for you that they did for the last 20 customers, but charging 50k for what doesn’t seem like that much work.Again, these are very important people who add value to the business, but every time you pay one of those bills, you feel a little bit ripped off, even if you know in the long run that you are hiring these people because they will make you more successful. And the truth is, most of the gatekeepers didn’t start off there, but rather they worked their butts off to be in the position they are in.I suppose this is a long rambling way to not argue with you, and even agree with you, while pointing out that there are some risk/reward inefficiencies in the system that do make things frustrating when you are small.

        1. kidmercury

          the VC success rate does not reflect the total entrepreneurial picture, given that most entrepreneurial ventures are not suitable for VC — only a tiny sliver are.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Since earlier today I got some good workdone, I’ll take some time out to respondto your remarks on information technology(IT) VCs and more generally on ITstartups.To preempt my remarks, my view is that ITstartups are in trouble and IT VCs aredisasters. For the VCs, I would referonly to(1) As in Fred’s post of Feb 21, 2013 Venture Capital Returnsat his…over the past 10 years, early stage USventure capital on average has had returnon investment (ROI) less than the S&P 500.(2) As in remarks on venture capital atthe Web site of Peter Theil’s The FoundersFund, at…where click on “Read More” in a tiny imagenear the bottom of the page, with ‘Founders Fund:’ ‘What Happened to the Future?’ By Bruce Gibneyin section “VC’s Long Nightmare”, see:”Along the way, VC has ceased to be thefunder of the future, and instead hasbecome a funder of features, widgets,irrelevances. In large part, it alsoceased making money, as the bottom half ofventure produced flat to negative returnfor the past decade.”Wow! Negative return for a decade!To jump ahead, here’s the huge disconnect,incongruity: (1) Low ROI and (2) theInternet and computer hardware andinfrastructure software with what about 10years ago would have been unbelievableprice/performance ratios. (1) and (2)just do not go together. There issomething grandly wrong here.Instead our times now should be like agrand combination of open ocean sailing(e.g., the Cutty Sark), iron, steel,steam, railroads, electric power, electricmotors, gasoline fueled cars and trucks,electric lights, radio, and more.Heck, 75 years ago mostly just cars andtrucks had boom times in Detroit,Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron, Duluth,Gary, and more. The Indianapolis 500 racewas a big deal for hundreds of milesaround.The convex hull of Detroit, Pittsburgh,… is a major chunk of prime US realestate. In contrast little Silicon Valleyis a suburb of SF centered around Stanfordand Sand Hill Road. Small potatoes.Bummer.We’re blowing it.I’m not saying that it’s easy to be a VC:At least with the current method ofoperations, possibly enforced by thelimited partners (LPs), a VC is heavilylimited by what he gets in his e-mailinbox. And at…is> Alexia Tsotsis: What about startupsthat aren’t in your portfolio, because yousaid that only 10, 15 companies a year areresponsible for 97 percent of the returns.quoting Marc Andreessen.So, there are only 10-15 projects a yearreally worth funding; although it is notfully clear from the context, maybe he wastalking about only startups selling toenterprises. Bummer. Gigantic bummer.And I don’t really blame the IT startupentrepreneurs: They have to get their owneducations in IT and business, think of aproject, buy their own computerhard/software, do some significantsoftware development, get some significant’traction’ in some form, all with justmoney from their own, usually thin,checkbooks. Why? Because nearly alloutside funding starts with some form ofactual ‘traction’ in the real marketplace.So, (A) the entrepreneurs have to do a lotof work with just their own resources, and(B) all the VCs together get only 10-15important e-mail messages a year. Thecombination of (A) and (B) is not working,is creating slow growth that looks sillycompared with 75 years ago, and the ROIsucks. Bummer.So, the system of LPs, IT VCs, and ITstartup entrepreneurs is badly broken.I will move on with my view of the causeof the problem and its solution.Cause. For the cause, in shortest terms,the LPs, IT VCs, and IT startupentrepreneurs don’t know how to doprojects. No wonder we get only 10-15good projects a year.For a little more:The LPs want to think like commercialbankers and have their IT VCs look atfinancial measures or close surrogatessuch as ‘traction’. For anything beforethe traction, they regard any investmentas too risky; in a small sense, they arecorrect; in a huge sense, they are wildlywrong, but let’s avoid saying just whyjust now.For the entrepreneurs, they don’t know howto do their part of good projects. Whatthe entrepreneurs bring equity investorsmuch before traction nearly always has toolittle substance to permit havingconfidence in its future.Here’s in just three steps are how to do aproject:(1) Problem. Describe the problem to besolved.We want a problem such that the first goodor a much better solution will be close toa ‘must have’ for many people paying alittle or a few people paying a lot. Herewe want no doubt.E.g., Edison was looking for electriclighting to replace gas lighting,kerosene, whale oil, and tallow.(2) Solution. Find the first good or amuch better solution to the problem.Edison learned about tungsten as afilament (from English chemist Swan) and areally good vacuum pump from a guy inGermany.Want a solution with a good barrier toentry (although Edison’s light bulb didn’thave a good barrier to entry).(3) Software. In IT, we want the solutionto be in computing, usually software,often over the Internet.The entrepreneurs fail with sufficientlygood descriptions of (1) Problem and (2)Solution to have anything with low risk topresent to the IT VCs. So, the IT VCsjust f’get about (1) and (2) and waituntil they can try (3) Software.The ‘technology’ the entrepreneurs arebringing forward is nearly always justroutine software, and that’s not powerfulenough for the needed solutions for theneeded problems. So, the quality of thework on (1) and (2) is on average worsethan even the VC ROI.But, parts of our society know very wellhow to plan and propose projects,astounding, enormous, long term, bleedingedge, beyond belief projects, all just onpaper, and then execute the projectsessentially on time and on budget.Example: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC).Except for the one leak, apparently theproject went as smoothly as, say, puttingup 100 houses of 2000 square feet each onsome former farm land next to a city.Solution. The solution is:(1) Entrepreneurs. They need to learn howto describe their project, (1) Problem,(2) Solution, (3) Software, just on paperbut well enough to make the work to the”must have” results routine and low risk.If the LHC and many other projects in oursociety can be done this way, and theyhave been for decades, then so can theprojects of IT entrepreneurs.(2) LPs and IT VCs. They need to beready, willing, able, and eager actuallyto read, take seriously, and accuratelyevaluate the project proposals and plansjust on paper from the entrepreneurs, fundprojects from just such descriptions, andachieve low risk and high ROI.So, project proposals, just on paper, aresolid. The entrepreneurs get some fundingearly enough to do some much more valuablework for some much more valuable projects.The LPs and IT VCs get low risk and highROI.Yes, the present system does yield somesuccessful businesses, entrepreneurs, andVCs, but as we saw above on average theROI is not good, and the number of goodfundable projects each year is tiny.Yes, to make my suggestions work, most ofthe entrepreneurs and VCs will have to beable to work effectively with just paper.There will be challenges here which,however, have long been met well by partsof science, engineering, and business.This post is not about my project: Earlyin my career and in graduate school, Ilearned to design and plan solid projectsjust on paper. Assuming that VCs couldfund projects with such planning, for agood project I tried many VCs andeventually gave up: It was easy to seethat the VCs refused to read any of thework on paper; if they read it, theywouldn’t understand it; even if theyunderstood it, they wouldn’t write a checkbased on it. Since the project neededmore funding that my checkbook couldsupply, I dropped the project.So, for my current project, I picked one Icould do with just my checkbook and, ifusers like the work, ‘bootstrapping’ and’organic’ growth.Still, the current system of LPs, IT VCs,and IT entrepreneurs with its technologymostly just routine software, low ROI,only 10-15 fundable projects a year, andtiny Silicon Valley is a bummer.

      2. jason wright

        speaking of domain squatters, why would a ‘squatter’ quote to me a price of $48,444 for a domain? the number seems odd. does it have meaning that you know of?

        1. LE

          What was the domain name?Two things come to mind:1) Asians feel that those are lucky numbers. So they tend to respond positively to multiples of those numbers.2) Some people feel that giving an inexact price subliminally sends a message that the pricing is valid and not just pulled out of the air. So instead of saying $50,000 or even $48,000 they use $48,444.The fact that that it’s 444 leads me to believe there is an asian angle to this. They either feel the buyer might be asian or you could be a rep for an asian buyer or they are asian or perhaps some other “lucky” angle they are working. Otherwise it would be more typical to just state 48,500 or even $48,345 or something more random.

          1. jason wright

            i can’t say what the name is right now. too many eyes on this blog for that. hope you understand the need for confidentiality at this stage.i was wondering if the price came as a result of a currency conversion, where the price was expressed in the seller’s currency and then converted to USD to become the ‘odd’ 444.I also wondered if it came from one of those ‘helpful’ online domain valuation tools (you know, number of letters, the extension, traffic, rank, et.c.).I also wondered if it might reflect a tax liability threshold, but who could just be ‘lucky’. luck is a valid and most welcome visitor. thanks.

  2. Peter

    Fred, Established leader of a powerful community. I can’t help but wonder if you will quit VCing and enter politics? πŸ™‚

    1. pointsnfigures

      He’d get frustrated. Can you imagine trying to negotiate with a bureaucrat?

      1. Aaron Klein


      2. jason wright

        imagine a bureaucrats frustrations when negotiating with someone who gets things done

  3. TanyaMonteiro

    WOW, incredible. Can’t stop thinking about how to action this “model” in South Africa. Brilliant and Inspiring, thank you.

    1. mikenolan99

      Would love to hear about your projects – I was able to be involved with Eden Campus, a self funded “green” entrepreneurship school. It is now part of Nelson Mandela University.

      1. TanyaMonteiro

        …”the last four letters of African = I CAN” brilliant!!My thinking is how to get very creative product from street vendor on-line and selling directly. Like ETSY but for those without tech at their finger tips. There are plenty of people/companies producing, buying directly from these creatives on the street but the tech exposure is not getting to the streets here. Why is a longer story, happy to ‘speak’ via [email protected] if you’re interested.

  4. Donna Brewington White

    I love the Internet!

    1. Aaron Klein

      The Internet + Capitalism is one of the most powerful combinations I’ve ever witnessed. πŸ™‚

      1. Donna Brewington White

        It’s freaking brilliant!Hey how are the Californians among the first commenters?A new time zone: AVC Standard Time

        1. Aaron Klein

          You’re the crazy one. I get up at 5am but I try to be in bed by 10:30. I don’t know how you do it, Donna!

        2. kidmercury

          there’s a technical problem with how this site is loading today which may be a contributing factor. not to take anything away from our resident californians though! you guys still rock! πŸ™‚

          1. Donna Brewington White


      2. jason wright

        it will be when we each of us own our capital rather than borrow it from a private central bank.

        1. kidmercury

          spoken like a true kook.

          1. jason wright

            i’m a good mimic

    2. ShanaC

      i feel it has made me a better and more moral person

  5. laurie kalmanson

    #becauseawesomeparticularly graceful thank u note in email just nowI want to thank every person who contributed to keeping our chess program funded and thriving for the next school year. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who value the message and impact of our program.Our program is based on the idea that our students, despite growing up in challenging circumstances, can be great at chess if given the right opportunity and challenged to succeed. Your support will allow our students to thrive. I welcome all of you to our Brooklyn Castle family and hope you will all smile even wider with every success of our team.With gratitude,Mr. G…. Not just great at chess but great at life

  6. awaldstein

    I no longer give to organizations, I give to individual projects that I care about.SPCA, not any longer but supporting specific anmical rescue sites, yup!Personalizing helping is a big deal. You get notes like this.

    1. falicon

      A video related to all this that I *highly* recommend watching ->

      1. awaldstein

        Will so.What amazes me is the network of people all over the country who do things like take vacations drive for two days to pick up a cat then drive it to someplace where it is welcome.People at their best are truly selfless and amazing at times

        1. falicon

          I know a number of people that dedicate much of their life to just that example you mention (for cats and dogs)…certainly an interesting phenomenon to study.What the video brings up is that things like this are really about how your actions make you feel…and if you are honest with your giving intent, you’ll feel more fulfilled by your actions…however, when you are not honest with your intent (even if you do what is perceived as the *right* thing), you will not feel nearly as fulfilled (prob. not at all).I just think that is so spot on. Watching the video was my ‘ah ha’ moment of the day…

        2. LE

          “People at their best are truly selfless”How do you make a distinction between something that is selfless when there is a component (as you acknowledge) that things like this “makes me feel good”?At the base level of anything like this there is the “feel good” factor of it all. (Whether done anonymously or not).A few years ago I was eating somewhat regularly at a place on the upper east side (bagel place). I noticed that the young bankers would drop somewhat large tips in the tip jar while the immigrant workers were not even looking. So they didn’t even get the appreciating feedback of those workers (similar to I guess when you leave a restaurant tip). But there was no obligation to tip at all so I’m guessing that the act of leaving a tip for someone who was clearly not in your social group made them feel good or at least less guilty for the money that they were making. But it doesn’t make them selfless (not that it matters I just take issue with the use of that word that’s all). (Other reason for people tipping is to avoid a negative feeling when there is a social stigma to not tipping).

          1. awaldstein

            You can slice language and attached behaviors however thin you’d like.People who do like I describe above, people who give of their own free time to drive cancer patients around for treatment, become big brothers or sisters–selfless acts to me.Good deeds even with attachments are good deeds motivated primary by doing good.No reason to thin slice them in my opinion. I’d rather applaud them.

      2. awaldstein

        Really good one. Thanks!

      3. LaVonne Reimer

        SO glad you posted that link. I hadn’t heard of Simon but watched this as my (west coast) lunch-at-my-desk entertainment. Wonderful and inspiring. Can’t help extrapolating and applying all over. Thank you!!

    2. John Galvin

      Thanks Arnold!

    3. Frog

      A couple of years ago a friend of mine was penpals with a poor school on a reservation. The teacher sent her this email which was forwarded on to me. I read it, cried, read it again, cried, and then sent a bunch of things to this class. I’m trying to make it a yearly thing. Needless to say, the videos that were sent back to me made me cry again. While I generally believe in letting experts make the decisions in their fields, since they often have broader views than outsiders, there are times when there is no substitute for personal involvement. I’m an occasional poster to this site, but this is anonymous because when I give, I don’t want it to be about me:[Letter from the teacher – Nov 20]Yippee! We now have all our letters for the Maps unit (from the adults). For some reason, it took in2books awhile to match the new pen pals to the students. I don’t recognize the names of the new pen pals, so not sure what happened there, but we are excited to have them on board. Those students will be so happy to see their letters on their desk, come Monday morning.If you have not received your pen pal letter yet, do not fret. I have some students for whom typing is a PAIN! I believe in the process and I know that it will produce good works, but it is HARD to get them to capitalize an I! I am not letting them off the hook as I did with the first letter. Those letters WILLLLLLL be done this week. That is a promise I am making to you and to myself. I want to order the new books Wednesday, so they can be shipped over Thanksgiving Break.That being said (or, um, typed), we will be moving into the Biography unit next. I have selected Inventors as our focus, as Fourth Grade in Arizona takes the state test on Science. A good section of that test is about famous inventors. This will be a good opportunity for me to hit multiple lessons with this program. For that I am thankful.I am also thankful to be able to work with such amazing students. Their sweet spirits give me strength. I just want to share some stories (from just this last week), so you can understand their challenges better. They are completely open with me and will say things that stop me in my tracks. Frequently, I tear up. Here is what happened this week:”Mrs. Rodriguez, my dad was stabbed 18 times last night.” I later found out that he passed from his injuries. NO 9-year-old should have to go through that.”Mrs. Rodriguez, my mom didn’t come home last night.” Not sure where she was, but I can’t think of a single good reason for this.”Mrs. Rodriguez, my 12-year-old cousin hung herself last night in the closet.” Twelve years old!I can throw my own pity parade, but then I think of these kids. This is their life, yet they come to school every day with smiles on their round faces. They don’t know what a pantry is because they don’t have excess food at home. Yet, they are extremely giving. Let me share with you their hearts of gold:One pen pal had mailed 7 pairs of gloves. I was holding on to them until Christmas. But, it recently got cold. It was 9 degrees at my house. I figured that the gloves don’t keep any hands warm in a closet, so I should pass them out and at least keep 7 kids warm. I explained the situation of only having 7 pairs of gloves (for 26 kids) and that some kids would not get gloves this time around. I pulled names out of my cup and two of the kids said that they already had gloves and to give the new gloves to someone else who did not have gloves. I’ll be honest, as a kid, I probably would have kept the new gloves. Their generosity amazed me. I went on and passed them all out. Later in the day, I noticed the kids only wearing one glove. I also noticed other kids (who I had not called) wearing the matching glove. Those kids, those 9-year-olds, gave up one glove to a friend, so they could have a warm hand too. I was astonished. I don’t think that even as an adult I would have done that! Their hearts are pure. They are givers and they think of others. All they want for Christmas is heat, food, and love. I am so happy that now every single kid has a pen pal. You are showing them love in more ways than you will ever know.Now, I have some pretty amazing pen pals. I know that some of you are already thinking of how to get more gloves to my students. That need has already been met. In fact, a pen pal is already making beanies to cover their heads too. You are a very giving group. Don’t ever doubt for a minute that your letters are sufficient in themselves. Your letters (and the books that they swear YOU personally paid for them) give them hope. Your letters are cherished. You are a real person to them and you are teaching them about your corner of our nation and your passion for what you do. YOU are their gift.You are also my gift. Your prayers and thoughts have brought us through a very dark week. I am relieved to say that my husband is now willing to fight for his life. It can’t be easy what he is going through. I can’t imagine the thoughts he has and the decision he had to make. He finally decided on hemo-dialysis. We are not through the woods yet. In fact, our journey has just begun. But, at least we are stepping forward. You may never know the impact you have had on my life. I am thankful for you and the program that brought this group of 27 adults together. Blessings to you and your families this week. Hug your loved ones tighter this Thanksgiving. Even that crabby old uncle. They need to be loved too. Life is short and life is precious. Let’s all be thankful for our many blessings.

    4. Tracey Jackson

      I think more and more people feel this way. I know I do. WIth all the different ways to give directly online now, we see where the money is going. It’s not going to fancy parties and flowers and gift bags. A much better way for us to give back.

      1. awaldstein

        I’ve been thinking about this all day. (Maybe as I”m looking for another project possibly though.)Very few sites have the traffic of and can raise dollars through advertising to fund charities.But even my blogs and businesses, and many of my clients, have decent traffic that is very verticalized and targeted and engaged.Wondering if the long tail of donations is not a long tail of small donations but one of targeted donations. And if there was a ‘share me’ type of app that let sites and blogs across the web add these access points to personalized giving?Anyone doing this that you know of?

        1. Tracey Jackson

          I don’t know. I get about 5 Kickstarter requests a month. I think much like people helping friends out with their charities that they support there might be a bit of that here. A lot of people do know Fred. Fred knows people with money. People trust people’s judgement. I don’t know how random things would come across. I think the numbers in a lot of the online things are not so enormous and with that people feel that say if they give a hundred dollars they are actually contributing. If you’re trying to raise 50,000 to keep a program up an running and not 25,000.000 for a new wing at a museum it’s a big difference.What you say about many small donations I think is true.I have a slum school in India I have helped for over a decade and I know when i have made pleas to friends to help it directly most did. I think a lot of us are sick of the waste that goes into mailing stupid stickers we don’t want. And having to attend fancy parities that waste as much as they make and not knowing how much of the money goes into salaries and offices and things and much goes to the charity.

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks.I’m going to keep noodling on this.

      2. Vinay Rawlani

        I agree. I think there is a lot of power that can be harnessed using the internet to drive donations. I’m an entrepreneur and recently started a site called Perkle ( where people can raise donations for causes important to them when they shop at their favorite online retailers. We have a dedicated group of users who create a lot of good for our causes. I think a large part of our success has been provided by transparency of where the funds go.

  7. pointsnfigures

    Good for the kids. The best way they can show their gratitude is by making something of themselves.

  8. Toby Lewis


  9. William Mougayar

    The way this campaign has unfolded was a wonderful thing, and that picture is heart warming.But it takes someone with clout like yourself to pull something together like this, with these kinds of results.It’s almost like the Angel List Syndicates analogy, where you were the main instigator and you “syndicated” this raise, and we were your (little) LP’s.

  10. ShanaC

    πŸ™‚ you’re welcome kids!

  11. Dave W Baldwin

    http://sacramento.cbslocal…. thought I’d include another story, a combination of tele and Internet.

  12. kidmercury

    i would just like to add some haterade to the mix today. not hatin’ on the kids or the donating, that’s all good and well. rather hating on the celebration of the internet. i don’t see the internet as anything especial here. i think the real secret sauce is that fred is an influencer, or whatever the gladwell-ian term is. fred used the internet to build and wield his influence, but in the old days, it would have been newspaper, radio, local access TV, standing on the street handing out homemade flyers, etc.what happened here is not new and fun. it’s old and boring.

    1. LE

      Building on that foundation you are laying, in order for Fred to even do what he did this filmaker had to decide to make the movie first about the school.Otherwise what we have here is what I would call “a dying cat that you never see”[1]:http://www.brooklyncastle.chttp://www.brooklyncastle.c…[1] Many years ago I was driving home and saw in the middle of the road a cat who had been hit by a car and was literally twitching in agony. It disturbed me for some time. I then realized that there were cats all over the world that were in distress that I didn’t know about. Much generosity by people who can do something is as a result of the fact that it has somehow been brought to their attention and they’ve singled it out for special treatment.I donated two times to DC because it was important to Fred and it is a way of saying thank you to him.

    2. LE

      “add some haterade to the mix””Cynerade” is an important part of any discussion internet or otherwise. Like the opposing party comeback to a presidential speech. What always disturbs me is people not willing to accept dissenting points of view to their idealistic utopia. (This has nothing to do with anything on this blog post in particular it’s just a shot aimed at the internet’s happy echo chamber of endless goodness.)

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Your age is showing, Kid.Where’s @NOCERAGRAMS:twitter when I need him.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Meaning @kidmercury:disqus that you take the internet for granted.My age is showing in that I still consider it to be a miracle.Without internet, I would have a completely different life. And I would not know you. That would be a travesty!

  13. stevewfindlay

    Now imagine how awesome it would be if all of the donors simultaneously got updates every few months as to how the chess team was getting on. Or even better, notified when they won a tournament…or entered a tournament near you…Well with you can!(And it’s completely free for smaller organisations.)Disclosure: I am involved with …in case this comment didn’t make it obvious!

  14. Clyde F. Smith

    The best community chess program I know of is the Hip Hop Chess Federation that work in the Bay Area often with kids at risk. I realize it’s not New York but they’re doing good work:http://hiphopchessfederatio

  15. Pete Griffiths


  16. Youssef Rahoui

    That makes me happy πŸ™‚

  17. Ana Milicevic

    Thanks for rounding us up.

  18. Esayas Gebremedhin

    nice rewarding picture πŸ™‚

  19. Steve Poppe

    To repeat a brand strategy for a non-profit in Bed-Stuy: This fundraiser project was all about “Doing Good’s Work.”

  20. Ethan Bauley

    Thanks for setting this up Fred!

  21. Kimberly

    I love this picture. I wish there were girls in it.

  22. awaldstein

    I was waiting for you to ask that Charlie!No but at least it was money raised against a specific objective.Last week I decided to support this blind rescue cat for $1 a day for as long as he lives in this shelter. I don’t need to see daily pics, but dollars in, specific results that i care about out. For $400 a year, I’m doing something that makes me feel good. (Blind animals are immediately killed when rescued BTW.)

  23. Aaron Klein

    You know, it was personalized enough for me. I don’t need a personal note (though the “THANK YOU AVC” photo above is priceless!) but I do want to know that my few bucks made a real and personalized difference to someone else.That’s why a lot of our giving continues to go to our Africa school project. I get the privilege of traveling there every fall and get to see, touch and feel my few bucks β€” and the generosity of so many of my friends β€” at work in transformed futures and saved lives.

  24. LE

    I agree. I get a handwritten thank you from the clerk at the Coach store and other places (I keep them) like the carpet store salesgirl, the bank, the mortgage guy etc.A few years ago I gave a small amount of money to two local politicians. One sent out canned thank you’s. Then I got a bunch of canned mail invites to rubber chicken dinners. The other one I got absolutely nothing from not even a canned response.

  25. Aaron Klein

    And I wasn’t intending to criticize your comment either. πŸ™‚

  26. Vineeth Kariappa

    list of name, program, copy, paste. the program does the work.

  27. John Galvin

    Thanks for your support Aaron!

  28. Dave Pinsen

    Where can people go to contribute to this Africa school project?

  29. William Mougayar

    badass big

  30. Donna Brewington White

    John — I was thrilled to hear that the campaign had been fully funded. Congratulations and much success to you and the kids. Thank you for what you do! And thank you for that photo! Made my day.

  31. Aaron Klein

    My honor, John.