Milestones June 1, 2011

Just thought you’d all like to know…

The Damon Fowler fund ended last night at $30,845.40 (including some money donated outside of ChipIn).

Because this is such a large amount of money, and there may be legal issues with simply handing over a check to Damon (or his brother), I’m in the process of talking to a lawyer about establishing a trust fund (or something of that nature). Even though I know many of you have told me you don’t care what Damon does with the money, it will go toward his education (as the ChipIn Widget said). To ensure that, this is the safest route for me to take. Hope you all understand. I’m doing this as quickly as possible and I’ll provide an update when I have a better idea of what’s going on.

Also, I’m proud to announce that Foundation Beyond Belief, the group that encourages atheists to give to various secular charities, just surpassed the $150,000 mark in donations! (Disclosure: I’m on the FBB board.)

We’re doing some incredible things for a lot of people here. If you’ve contributed to one or both causes, thank you!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • It’s a shame there is no way to donate decency to the parents of Damon Fowler.

  • AteoAbsurdo


    How is your value of $30,845.40 equal to the $31,075.40 on the ChipIn on the right?

  • Walter

    I think it’s only fair to do this Hemant. Do we have any tax attorneys who are atheists and belong to this circle of friends?

  • I think the trust is the right way to go. Thanks for having this set up, Hemant – if Damon’s parents aren’t going to do the right thing and give him a good start, it’s great to see how many people have been willing to step up and help.

  • Walter

    @AteoAbsurdo: Confusion explained: “The Damon Fowler fund ended last night at $30,845.40 (including some money donated outside of ChipIn).”

  • Anpan

    Parents setting up education funds these days often have caveats to ensure that kids who seek out alternative educations (apprenticeships, etc.) can access their funds in order to support themselves while they learn. I hope you’ll consider something of the sort, but I’m sure that Damon has plenty of reason to seek out a traditional education.

    I think this is a wonderful explosion of giving and I’m sure that the experience YOU’RE gaining here is going to stand you in good stead in the future. I know how overwhelming it can be when things get really good, really fast. There will be other young activists stepping out and some day the community may want to fund atheist scholarships for future generations.

  • How is your value of $30,845.40 equal to the $31,075.40 on the ChipIn on the right?

    Some more money has come in since the ChipIn ended — I guess through donated money that had not yet been cleared by PayPal!

    Whatever the amount is, I’ll update it when I know the actual total.

  • ewan

    @Walter – I think that’s the wrong way round; if Hemant’s total is the ChipIn amount plus some extra, it would be more than the ChipIn amount. In fact, it’s less.

    I’m absolutely sure there’s a perfectly good reason for this – it’s not like anyone involved is going to a) skim some of the money and b) blog the evidence.

    If I had to guess I’d suggest that the ChipIn widget may have been lagging a bit, so its total went up even after Hemant closed it.

  • Rieux

    I think the trust-account idea makes this fund much more worthy of donations; it’s the opposite of a reason for concern. I was frankly a bit uncomfortable with the idea of just handing over a big check to the Fowlers—but now that I know that my donation is going to a trust fund that is going to be watched over by a trustee, I’m happier about having made it. This is the responsible way to support Damon’s education.

    So big kudos, Hemant!

    – A lawyer (but not a tax one)

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