So I have an idea. Which is, in and of itself, not particularly noteworthy. I get lots of ideas. Some are good, some are terrible. But pretty much whichever end of the spectrum they fall on, I usually know how to bring them to life.
But this idea is bigger than me. I want to start a non-profit program. A big, expensive one.
But I’m poor. So I’m not really sure how to begin. But poor is the impetus behind the idea.
For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know that I can trip on a gold brick and land in shit like it’s an Olympic event. For those of you that have no frame of reference for my luck and ethic you can get a glimpse by reading through my older posts. Start with Why I Wish I Was on Welfare and then be sure to read the follow-up post on gratitude.
You’ll get a good grip of where I am coming from.
I got lucky. I don’t know why. But I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the anonymous gift that brought me to tears then and now.
I want to start The Bridge Foundation. Because too many of us are walking the path you see below. And there is no safety net, nothing shoring up that nightmare.
There are people staying in abusive situations because that is the only path out, and stepping onto it can be scarier than the fists of the devil they know.
Families are pushed onto the path when one of their own gets a Cancer diagnosis, or has an accident, or has an organ fail. Or if there’s a fire, a sinkhole, a chemical spill, a war injury.
The reasons vary, but they don’t matter. The people matter.
And that is why I want to build The Bridge. Not a welfare system. Not something that requires you to be at the bottom in order to get help. There are structures in place for them. They aren’t completely successful, but they exist.
I want to help people keep themselves from falling to the bottom.
Home repairs, car repairs, clothes for job interviews.
A group of employers that won’t turn you down because you had no job experience in the last 4 years while you cared for your family member as they died.
A dentist that will do a $300 dollar filling for free so it doesn’t turn onto a $1000 ER bill and a prescription that can send a recovering addict back over the edge.
Small loans that don’t come with an 18% interest rate.
I want all of these things and more. But I have no idea where to begin.
To start, I’ll be digging into the laws and regulations for starting a non-profit. But the money and the networking. I’m horrified at the mere thought of that. Kickstarter? GoFundMe? Grants? I don’t even know how much money would be needed to create a viable organization that would be self-sustaining over time. And I’d need a Board of Directors. Where do I find those people?
Then there’s the networking. I’m not one to walk into any room with my hand out and a smile on my face, able to convince anyone of anything. I’m just not good at it.
And there is such a stigma to overcome. A cultural assumption that if you are at the bottom, you want to be there. Our Give-A-Damn Button is busted. To hand out any more is seen as throwing good money after bad.
It will be a hard sell.
The one thing I can think of is to put a face to it. To show real families, to tell real stories. To make people understand that there is no separation between us. We are all vulnerable to the random catastrophes in life.
So for now, I am collecting – information, research and ideas – and if you have a story that you would be willing to share, I would like to collect that too.
If you have a story of a shaky walk across that bridge, or a time when you fell all the way to the bottom, I’d like to talk to you. Please leave a comment, or email me at rantravewrite at gmail dot com.
Hopefully, before it’s over, I’ll have enough to begin construction.