Many years ago in New Zealand, when I was pregnant with my second child, I attended a Community Organization Grants Scheme accountability meeting on behalf of our local toy library, of which I was the treasurer. It was nowhere near as scary as it sounds; the meeting was an informal affair, an opportunity for various non-profit and charitable organisations to get together and talk about the good work they had been able to do with the money they had been granted in the previous financial year.
I was stunned by the range of organisations that operated largely on grants and donations. I’d heard of most of the groups attending the meeting and had assumed that many of them were fully funded and operated by the government. CanTeen, Lifeline, La Leche League, Victim Support Services, the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, kindergartens and playcentres, support groups for various illnesses and disabilities, Citizens Advice Bureaus…all dependent on the generosity of others, not just for funding but for volunteers’ time. Yes, the money for the COGS grants came from the government, but that money was spread very thinly.
Take away the funding and the support from volunteers, take away all these organisations working to aid and support the vulnerable, the sick and the disadvantaged, and I believe that society would quickly unravel.
I know lots of people who ‘don’t believe’ in charity. “Oh,” they say, “there’s no point in giving money to charities because it’s all just a rort – most of the money goes into administrators’ pockets.” Having volunteered or worked for several non-profit organisations over the years, I can confidently say that the hoops one must jump through to obtain and keep non-profit or charitable status are small, high and often ablaze; it’s not that easy to rip off the system. But even if you acknowledge that the money goes to the right places, it’s easy to get charity fatigue. Every time you turn around, it seems, somebody has their hand out for money. I’ve been known to cross the street to avoid charity collectors (especially the ones who will settle for nothing less than your credit card number and a commitment to give hundreds of dollars a year for the rest of your life).
Which is why I’m a big fan of fundraisers that give donors something for their money besides a warm fuzzy feeling.
I give you…the Horror For Good charity anthology.
This charity anthology published by Cutting Block Press is a win-win situation for all involved. The contributors get to enjoy the feeling of doing something more meaningful with their art than just making up stories for their own (and hopefully others’) amusement. The chosen charity, amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) gets much needed funds. And the purchaser gets to read 32 horror short stories by some of horror’s biggest names, such as Joe McKinney, Jack Ketchum and Ramsay Campbell.
Oh, and one by me.
I’m happy to see other Antipodeans representing that ANZAC spirit with this project, too, namely Australian author G.N. Braun, who opens the collection, and New Zealander and cover artist William Cook.
I don’t even need to ask readers to Please Give Generously. I just need to ask – if you’re going to buy a book, buy this one.