Three weeks ago the telephone rang, and I heard the news. Out of 500,000 organizations, our small group of volunteers had emerged victorious! We are finalists in the Chase Community Giving Competition. I created the Imaging Foundation – Sea Save nonprofit organization a few years ago so we could work on orphan programs that did not seem to fit into traditional funding categories. We were spending a lot of time in the field and uncovering problems that required immediate attention but lacked the necessary financial support.
Naïve, we rolled up our sleeves and started building educational programs. We used our own equipment and funding. As we found more and more challenges, we realized we did need to find a way to supplement our volunteer efforts. That telephone call was the rescue beacon! This was a truly democratic way to support a program. People from all over the world had taken the time to sign on to Facebook and click “yes”! Our dream of launching all the programs we had initiated over those years was now within reach.
After the initial shock wore off, I realized I had a nearly impossible task before me. I had three short weeks to put together a million-dollar proposal—literally. To complicate things, I had to complete this assignment over the holidays. But I was not about to let the seemingly endless number of “out of office” replies stand in the way of progress. Winning this contest would mean so much for the ocean and the programs our team had worked so hard to develop.
So I got together with a bunch of friends to brainstorm ways to reach out and rally supporters. This was not going to be easy, and our biggest challenge was figuring out a way to have our message heard through the myriad e-mails in people’s inboxes and the barrage of Internet requests. Hmmmmmm. After a few hours of spirited discussion, we had to break up our gathering. It was a Saturday night, and we had places to go and people to see. Then it hit me. Everyone makes time in their schedules for parties. Why not host an event to celebrate the sea? While doing so, we could take time to reflect on the current challenges facing the oceans and invite our friends to help us realize our dream by casting a simple vote.
What came next reminded me of my favorite movie “Pay It Forward.” What started as fiction has evolved into a real-life movement, proving that kindness has the power to grow exponentially. In my version, I sent out a request to close friends asking them to host a “Wave Rave” on Jan 16th. They then forwarded my request to their friends and so the movement began. Within days, people from all over the world began offering to host their own event. Some were formal, others less so. Some are to be held at large aquariums, other small tea parties. We have people from Nigeria to Rio from the Canary Islands to Illinois. Many of these events have great backstories. Most are being held by people I have never even “met” before, and they are all building this wonderful “wave” of excitement and understanding.
Care2 is such a wonderful hub of high-energy advocates that we thought we should announce this opportunity here. To join the international movement, sign up for our Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=229971249728&ref=ts
To see what we are capable of accomplishing check out our new video and stay tuned for “the making of” blog coming soon: http://www.youtube.com/Imagingfoundation
I hope we are able to host 500 events worldwide. What a great way to leave behind politics and other differences and focus on something that everyone can agree with. We all love our big blue ocean!