Anyway – that’s my donor’s story

Check it out, guest blog. Thanks to the following, uber-talented person who needs to be recognised as both passionate and considered in everything he does. Not only that, Duncan and Niki were the first ever donors of A Little Charitable Trust and therefore people who will always be very special to us. You can only be first once Duncan. And that was you.

A few years ago my sister and I attended the launch of ‘A Little Charitable Trust’, at the now-defunct Smith Bar in Auckland’s Britomart precinct. Walking in, I joked that just being friends with Bevan and Sarah made you feel like you couldn’t be an entirely bad person. No matter what shady stuff you might have done with your life, if those guys thought you were OK, maybe you were. I think I even used the term ‘Jesus-like’ to describe them. I don’t know a lot about Jesus, being raised an atheist. But the way people go on about him makes you feel like he was a pretty nice dude. Bevan and Sarah just radiate this interest in and concern for the welfare of others. It’s really hard to do that without being irritating, and preachy (they’re maybe not so Jesus-like in that respect) and so on. But they never are.

Charley (Duncan’s sister), Duncan and Bevan at our launch in 2011

Instead you just get the sense that they only see the good in people, or the potential for good to be done in a situation. Again, this makes them sound like the worst people to get stuck next to at dinner. But they’re not. They drink, and cuss like sailors and all that important stuff. In fact, they’re just like regular people, like you or I, except that when they see a situation that could benefit from their time, effort and energy, they do something about it.

They saw some great kids living in extreme poverty in while travelling in Bolivia. They wondered about their prospects, what the future held for them. Then they did something about it.

At the launch of A Little Charitable Trust, I will admit to being somewhat bemused by their methodology. I confess that I hard to work hard not to laugh when they told us, beaming, that they were going to elevate these kids’ lives with the power of juggling, and street theatre, or something like that. It seemed to my deeply cynical self, like a parody of well-meaning but hopelessly misguided western philanthropy. But, y’know, its Bevan and Sarah. They know what they’re doing. And if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s them.

So I signed up. I decided to donate some pitifully small amount to A Little Charitable Trust each week. For the first year or so, I didn’t think too hard about it. Truth be told, I wasn’t certain that it would be doing anything great. I was probably just doing it to feel like less of an asshole.

Then this video came out in an email.

And suddenly it was clear. The work my money was doing did genuinely impact these kids’ lives in an extremely positive, multifaceted way. It was kinda kooky, sure. But that was not just its charm, but its strength. And it was teach-a-man-to-fish! My favourite kind of philanthropy. I loved them that much more, and resolved to be less of a cynical asshole in future, after watching those kids at work.

Anyway – that’s my donor’s story. A Little Charitable Trust’s methods might sound a little odd. But watch that clip and you’ll know they’re doing right. Any money you send goes straight there. It’s not tied to any religion, or captured by marketing or research or whatever. It just goes to the best kind of work. No matter how much of an asshole you are, break off a little something for these guys, and you’re officially not all bad.

– Duncan Grieve, @duncangreive


One Response to “Anyway – that’s my donor’s story”
  1. Great story Duncan.. very inspiring. I want to help as well.. please don’t hesitate to contact me..

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