Announcing the Omar Ahmad +1000 Action Group
When I was flying to last year's TED I sat next to Omar Ahmad. He had made some money in the Venture Capital business, but not, he said, enough to be Bill Gates. He told me he didn't think he could make an impact on the world. He didn't have a private jet. He couldn't get meetings with government officials, or others, in far-off lands where his meager resources could get leverage. He'd never feel CONNECTED to the problems he was solving, because he'd have to give his money to some other organization like Samasource or Kiva, both of which I support.
He felt like he couldn't make a difference. But he did,
more on that in a minute.
It's something I feel often, even though I know my money would help if I gave it to Samasource or Kiva. You should follow Samasource' CEO +Leila Janah
and help her organization out.
Earlier this year Omar died of a heart attack, which is why his name is on this new group. His words that morning still ring in my ears. He said that while he felt like he couldn't make a difference like Bill Gates, he kept seeing needs in his local community.
He told me he COULD make a difference there.
So he ran for city council and later was elected mayor of San Carlos. He dedicated his life to making a difference to his local community.
Which brings me here. I'm in the same boat as Omar was. I don't feel like my meager resources will have that big an impact around the world. I can afford to give $1,000. Really that won't help make much of a dent around the world, although there are lots of examples where the need is great (much of the world doesn't have decent drinking water, for instance, which is why I'm so impressed by the work that Charity Water does).
I'm so inspired by the 500 comments that came back last night https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/7YAoQqLziVD
The need is great, but I am listening to Omar's words: how can I make a difference with my meager resources? Bill Gates, when he talks with me about what he's doing, spends a lot of time thinking about scale. How does he get the most value for every one of his dollars? Why should I be any different? I used to be a bible reader and one of my favorite stories there is how Jesus turned a loaf of bread into enough for thousands to eat. That's a scaling opportunity and one that the Internet serves very well.
So, I picked a local charity, thanks to +Seth Goldstein
and my friend +Jeremy Toeman
: the San Francisco Food Bank.
I see that on Wednesday, August 31st at 6 p.m. they need 61 volunteers. http://vol-sffb.org/node/add/signup/13325
I will buy coffee and a snack for everyone who signs up to volunteer. I figure that will cost about $100 or so. That means I can do that 10 more times for those of you who do the same in YOUR community.
Start small. Start with something concrete. An action, not just talk.
So, join me in San Francisco (first 61 people who comment they are joining are in).
Then, tell me about YOUR group that you're going to start. First nine groups will get $100 each to fund coffee and a snack.
If 10 groups start, that will be about 600 people. I can see this growing to more than 1,000 people worldwide, which is why I call it the +1000 action group.
Thanks for the inspiration Omar, and see you on August 31st.