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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Friday, April 21, 2006


Donor Fatigue Versus Food for Thought

I have been very involved in fundraising in my life, as I’ve mentioned in a few posts thus far. When I approached individuals and organizations for money, I sometimes received a sigh of fatigue. “Donor fatigue,” as one put it. It gets me thinking today at how charitable organizations are cottage industries turned big business – many, when investigating the percentage of administrative costs from funds raised, go to salaries. In Canada, a “responsible organization” should have no more than twenty percent of its raised revenue go towards these costs.

Nonetheless, charitable organizations are popping up everywhere like business, all vying for your donor dollar. There are many “good” causes out there in my opinion, but the responsibility to sift through the mire of organizations and their motives has become much more complicated. Sheer altruism, wanting to be a “good” person, is naïve, and the donor has to now engage in due diligence or truly believe in the supported cause.

I consider this as I am setting up the Canadian Autism Acceptance Network. I don’t plan on doing any aggressive fundraising – I just need enough to cover expenses for speakers and exhibitions. I do not plan to take a salary. The purpose is solely to bring information that is not yet available in Toronto -- information that demystifies autism, or at least brings a countering view to the ones presented by the high-priced, higher-salaried orgs out there. I want to continue to bring exhibitions so that people with autism can have a venue and be paid for their work. I want to show, and not always tell, through the work of autistic people – without sensationalizing them, but through regarding and respecting their work. It’s rather like presenting Art Against Stigma. As a parent, I do not see any other presentation, lecture or exhibition that offers an array of literary, academic and creative individuals as will be offered this October.

Tickets will be sold to the lectures to help cover expenses. Media is supporting some promotion. Speakers are being confirmed and I hope to give you the line-up in the next two weeks. I hope some readers will consider coming to Toronto to support this. This is about creating new paradigms, and making new viewpoints available to the public. I believe controversy is healthy and important. Please bring some to Toronto. I'm not about to espouse a cause to grab a dollar. This is about getting fed with information -- food for thought.

A website is being built with more information about the lineup and event and will be available soon.


Anonymous Camille said...

I hope that there will be lots of pictures of the event, especially the art. I hope that your idea is very successful. It's a fantastic idea. I think your tone of positivity will make it easier for donors to think about donating.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Bonnie Ventura said...

I'll come, if I can manage to find my passport! A few months ago, my husband and I decided to put our passports in a safer place, and now we can't remember where in the heck they are. Should have left well enough alone!

3:25 PM  

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