I'll get straight to the point. I have a simple request directed to the personal and professional contacts I have established over the last 23 years. I need your help to raise $25,000 to buy a school bus for Dalit children in Patna, India. You can make your tax deductible donation through this PayPal Link:
Huh? Why do you need to buy a school bus for an area literally on the other side of the planet? Don't you just build and operate data centers for eBay? Yes, my day job is to build and operate the foundation that enables 100 million people to buy and sell products all over the planet...but there is something else that is equally as important. Just like Data Centers are the foundation that allow on-line businesses like eBay to grow, compete, and thrive - Education is the foundation that allows CHILDREN to grow, compete, and thrive. If children do not have access to education, then they are always at a disadvantage.
Let me explain my connection here. Earlier this year, thieves in Northern India stole a bus from the Emmanuel School in Patna. I'm sure the first question coming to your mind is why couldn't they just use their insurance to get it replaced? Sure, that sounds logical, but that's not how it works in poverty stricken areas like Patna. It can take more than nine months to get a claim paid. The payment would also not pay for a new bus. The reason this theft is personal to me is that three years ago a group of my family, friends and business contacts bought the school bus that was stolen. That simple gift enabled hundreds of extremely poor kids from remote villages to go to school. My wonderfully giving group of friends helped those kids have a shot at the future. Hundreds of Dalit children used that bus to get to the only school that would take them. Sounds like an exaggerated story, but it is not. I met many of these kids personally when I visited Patna with my mom. I know it has made a big difference in their lives. You can see the original website we published here. (please do not use the links there to donate, just use PayPal button above)
Normally, I keep my personal and professional lives separate, but I believe this is story will resonate with many in my network. We're not just going to replace the stolen bus, we're going to buy a larger one to get even more kids to school! If you want to be a part of this, just click the PayPal donate button and give what ever you can. You can also keep up to date on the progress through our new website, Just Let Me Learn.
It is tax deductible and I will be including your name (and your company if applicable) in the new plaque we will give to the school leaders when we purchase the bus (you can also opt out of the plaque if you wish). Remember, that most companies match charitable donations by employees, so keep that in mind if you are donating personally. For corporations, please contact me directly (email@example.com) if you need a differnet payment method to donate. My sincerest thanks in advance!
For those who want more background first, read on...
In 2007, I took my mom with me on a business trip to India. Her name is Sandy and she lives in the mountains of Colorado. She had never traveled outside the US before, so India was going to be an eye-opener, a BIG eye-opener! Interestingly enough, before we left, she found a number of missionaries in India over the Internet. Yes, she found people she had never met before in another country and coordinated to come visit them in their homes while I was working! That's just how she is...a tough (and stubborn) mountain woman who takes care of herself (and I love her for it). Needless to say, I explained that flying around India isn't like flying around the US. First, a 67 year old grandmother, who knows zilch about the language, culture, customs, transportation, food or any other aspect of the country doesn't just travel around alone like she's taking a trip to Starbucks. Secondly, she's my mom! I would not let her travel alone. Thankfully, we worked out a l schedule that worked for us to travel everywhere together.
To make a long story short, it was life changing for my mom...and for me. The people of India, specifically the Dalit children and those helping them, profoundly touched us. You can see more on that in the original website I put up here. When we returned, I felt compelled to help with one immediate need. That need was to raise funds to buy a bus to get kids to the school in Patna. These kids lived in extreme poverty and had no way to get to school because they lived so far away and their parents couldn't afford to get them there. The bus we purchased gave them that opportunity. I was really pleased with the outpouring of support I received from my friends and business connections. We raised the money in less that 8 weeks. We bought the school bus and helped hundreds of kids in multiple grades get to school for more than three years. I was so thankful to all those who donated to make this happen!
But as you read earlier, the bus was stolen. It was a crushing blow to a school struggling to make ends meet. The school had to scrape up money to rent a bus to keep giving these kids the chance. A chance to raise themselves out of poverty through the gift of knowledge, the gift of an education. An education is something that many of us take for granted every day.
I look at my family, and how blessed we are. I remember back to the faces of the kids we met and the smiles they had being at that school! I want to make sure they, along with every future class, continues to have that opportunity.
Below is the PayPal donation link through the non-profit organization my mom and I setup for our work in India.
I sincerely appreciate any help you can provide! Please forward this blog to others you think would be interested in participating.