Here we are at the end of the road for Charitocracy OBX! What a wild ride the past 4 years have been. Thanks so much for being a part of it. While I'm looking forward to whatever's next for me (any ideas?!), I will miss Charitocracy as a big part of my identity and routine existence. No matter what else was happening in my life, good or bad, I could always reflect on the good Charitocracy was doing and be proud of it. I hope you felt the same.
Without further ado, here are the 3 worthy winners of our final 3 grants:
$3000 to 1st place winner Water's Edge Village School, nominated by donor tcerri. They provide local education to Corolla, instilling social and environmental responsibility while nurturing body and mind.
$2000 to 2nd place winner Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, nominated by donor hatterasman2. They operate a food pantry and provide emergency relief on Hatteras Island and neighboring communities.
$1500 to 3rd place winner Corolla Wild Horse Fund, nominated by donor sherylwthorp. They protect the herd of wild Mustangs in northernmost Currituck, and help preserve this land as their permanent sanctuary.
I'll probably wait a little longer than usual to send these final grant funds out, because we're aiming to zero out our bank balances and might have a bit more we can add to these grants. No complaints on that I hope. 😉 The point of finishing up Halloween vs. New Year's Eve was to get all these loose ends tied up without spilling into another new fiscal year. So wish me luck! And again THANKS for everything. ❤️
2023 is the final season of Charitocracy! There are 12 monthly pots yet to grant. Let's make them count!
I'll try to keep the sentimentality out of it for now, given there's still almost a whole year left to go. This decision comes after weeks of personal contemplation over the holidays and discussion with Jessica and the rest of our board of directors. It wasn't an easy decision. Charitocracy has been a huge part of my identity for the past 7+ years! But I think it's the right decision for me right now.
I'll cover the How first, then the Why. But feel free to follow up with me directly if you have more questions. I remain an open book, and ever at your service. ❤️
New donations, sign-ups, gift purchases, etc. are now disabled. We're going out on top with over 400 donors across Charitocracy USA and OBX!
All recurring donations after January 31 will be automatically cancelled. No action is required on your part. This way every donor gets at least the 12 months of grant voting they bargained for!
Current donors are encouraged to continue voting on through the last vote on New Year's Eve Halloween 2023. Even if your Charitocracy anniversary, the day your annual donation would ordinarily be collected, comes mid-year, you won't suddenly lose your voting privileges.
Charitocracy's remaining cash reserves will be distributed into 2023's 12 monthly USA & OBX grant pots. Each successive pot will be bigger than the previous one as we gain more confidence we can meet our final expenses with smaller cash reserves. Our final "season" of grants should be bigger than ever as we "zero out" our remaining funds!
There's been angst surrounding some of the more polarizing nominees at Charitocracy USA. For some folks, Charitocracy hasn't represented a positive force in their lives lately, either because they don't agree with the winners or due to some negative interactions online. Believe me, I can relate! And that goes for causes across the political spectrum, both ones that have and have not yet won a monthly grant. I never wanted to create something that could hurt people or cause hard feelings, so that aspect has been a bummer.
Meanwhile, I've spent more time than ever in the past few months fighting hackers. Rest assured, Charitocracy has never been breached, nor do we store any of your credit card information in the first place. (Our credit card processor, Stripe, takes care of that.) But what the hackers do like to do, for whatever reason, is to attack web sites and try to knock them offline. On several occasions I've had to interrupt trips or family time to literally fight bot armies (thousands of hijacked computers) flooding Charitocracy from all corners of the world with traffic, known as DDOS: Distributed Denial of Service. And the other thing they like to do is test lists of stolen credit cards by attempting to make donations from them. They automate it so I'll suddenly start getting a donation attempt every 5 seconds. Usually Stripe's fraud detection flags their attempts and reject them, but occasionally some get through. Then I have to refund the donations and eat the credit card processing fees. It's a nice adrenalin rush when it happens, but never a good time.
Finally, and perhaps most critically, is that I don't see a clear future for Charitocracy. The prospect of setting up Charitocracy's own endowment fund really brought into focus the fact that if I get hit by a bus, there's no one to take over, and there's no one to even gracefully shut it down. So it would be irresponsible to try to raise money for an uncertain future. While I've always run Charitocracy as lean as possible, with pride in our low overhead, the truth is that my volunteered skill set is actually a bit expensive... to replace. Not to mention I'm effectively on-call 24/7 for years on end with no good way to share that responsibility.
So let's go out there and make Charitocracy's 7th full year not only our last, but also our best! Thank you for the privilege it has been to pool your resources and make a difference in the world. I've had a blast!
We had a BLAST on Saturday at Outer Banks Community Foundation's 40th birthday bash at the Brewing Station!
Making it rain on otherwise gorgeous day with $4000 grant
I couldn't believe the endless stream of new Charitocracy sign-ups at the event. Not to mention the scores of new donors joining without our assistance during the event and in the preceding weeks. But our card swiper was working non-stop throughout the afternoon, with the last donation received and vote cast just 3 minutes before the stroke of 5pm when we froze voting. I barely had time to escape from behind my laptop and get on stage for the final countdown!
Thanks to board members Lisa Nicholson and Sam Cortez for their assistance at the event, and to the entire team at Outer Banks Community Foundation for kicking off our partnership with such fanfare. And finally, thanks to co-founder Jessica Sands for MC'ing the event and being the darling face of Charitocracy for the afternoon. Also for lining up such talented musicians (Jonny Waters & KT Bender) to keep the party going!
$4000 grant recipient: Sea Change OBX
And did I mention, Sea Change OBX earned the $4000 grant by getting the most (44.5) votes? It only seems fitting that Jessica Loose pulled this off. The same legendary Charitocracy donor to go from zero to hero in February 2020, leading to the month-after-month local "hijacking" of Charitocracy, culminating in the spin-off of Charitocracy OBX from Charitocracy USA. I don't know about the rest of you, but I saw Sea Change OBX coming for this additional $4000 grant a mile away!
The day after the party we resumed the normal monthly schedule for our October grant, with a Top 10 announcement. Next, your votes will narrow down the playing field to the Top 3 contenders tomorrow night. No rest for the weary! So get your votes (re)cast and let's keep the momentum going strong!
Take a page out of Jessica Loose's playbook: don't be afraid to introduce new people to Charitocracy and convince them to support your favorite nominee. Friends, family, neighbors, random strangers on the street... They could all use a little more Charitocracy in their lives, right? And we could stand to have our monthly OBX grants grow a bit more, too. Win, win! To keep things in perspective, we're only talking $1 per month. What's that these days with inflation, a sip of coffee?