I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

Last week, the Community Foundation received a remarkable check from a new donor—almost $40,000.  And, it was unrestricted.  Yowza.  The donor trusted our judgment on how to apply it most wisely. It started with a generic email asking whom to talk to about making a donation.  The donor was from London, England, so my radar went up.  I mean, who makes a gift from overseas without any local ties to a community? Of course, I did the net search, revealing their company Website and Linked-In page, none of which offered any clues.  But, seeing those sites did sort of make it real. After several emails back and forth—all very brief, mind you—we received a Cashier’s check from a Trust fund held at a well-known regional bank.  Same as cash, right? Those Cashier’s checks?  My radar shifted from, “This is too good to be true,” to “WAA-HOO!” And, what’s more, it was for about $10,000 more than the email pledged.   Our Board of Directors was poised for discussion on best use of the funds. We had visions of future software purchases, creation of at least one new endowment fund, and stashing some away in a Reserve Fund. And then, the shoe dropped.  As requested, I emailed the donor to say the gift had arrived.  He called. The gift was $10,000 more “by mistake.”  Actually, the donor said, his accountant, who was now in Greece (Sigh*) had made this error and he expected he would need to fire him (Jeez*).  What’s more, he had pledged that portion of the distribution to a family with a child headed into surgery—and they needed...
Higher Thinking:  Our Community and Substance Abuse

Higher Thinking: Our Community and Substance Abuse

I attended a well-thought out session on substance abuse last night hosted and coordinated by the Chief of Police Purcellville. It was a community meeting of the highest thinking. Truth be told, I wanted to weep as I headed home. Substance abuse, like so many of us are intimately aware, is like a festering wound as friends and family members fall prey to addiction and isolation. There were people in the room with their own personal stories of loss. Hope and success, too. Here’s what I learned. Loudoun County Public Schools have staff trained and dedicated to helping students facing substance abuse as part of the Department of Pupil Services. Take advantage. Loudoun County has extraordinary and robust counseling services within its department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Developmental Services—including resources to reduce costs of 28-day treatment.  (Sadly, a few years ago due to budget cuts, Loudoun County lost its Drug Court and temporary safe housing for addicts—excellent and worthwhile measures that take an addict beyond the 28-day timeframe.) I was also reminded that people around us care. Police Chief Cynthia McAlister shared a story of a local low-income family with an addicted son, striving to keep costs in check during his recovery and opting to keep him at home during this delicate time. Like most of us, they didn’t reach out to friends or neighbors because of the stigma many of us feel—despite the common nature of this disease. Their son overdosed and died. That did become public knowledge. The lesson was this: So much caring and higher thinking rallied around that family that they didn’t need...