Portrait of a Gift
This past September, we at Deep Root Center, were honored to receive a ten-thousand-dollar contribution from an anonymous donor. This amount may seem blasé or even inconsequential to some organizations; nevertheless, for Deep Root Center, this generous gift came, dare I say, when it was most needed as an essential boost to our depleted bank account. This story and its ultimate ramifications extend far beyond a, seemingly, simple bank transaction.
This entire tale begins, as most do, with a conversation. This particular one was with an extended family member at his cozy lake house in the Adirondacks in the middle of August. I had not seen him in several years and he was interested in learning what was happening with DRC. Over the next hour or so, I brought him up to speed on the highlights of the past few years. Ending with the, then, hoped for purchase of our house, which was still, at that point, in serious question. About thirty minutes later, while balancing a plate of food on my lap in a rocking chair, and watching his one-year-old grand-daughter play with her birthday doll, he came back with an intent look in his eyes and squatted next to me and said, “so your biggest issue is money.” My response, without the snarky tone I usually reserve for that particular statement, was, “yes, exactly!” He responded, “I may have a potential donor. Send me a basic profile and budget for Deep Root Center and I will get in touch with him.”
Two weeks after that exchange, an email introduction, as well as follow-up emails, I received a lovely message from the donor himself. He told me that he would have his secretary cut the check and send it to us that day. He also clarified, in part, why he, a wealthy businessman and complete stranger, was willing to help Deep Root Center, a small self-directed learning center, that he had no connection to, in a remote area of Northern New York nearly 400 miles away from his home. In his words, he was touched and grateful for the work we are doing. He went on to explain that his son, who is now in his late 30s, has Asperger’s and struggled mightily to finish school. To this day, despite having found a job in a university library, he has not really discovered his true calling and continues to flounder socially. This weighs heavily on our patron knowing, despite his privilege, support, and advocacy, there is little he can do. I was able to read through the subtext and realized that he, like many others I have spoken with, wishes something like DRC had been available for his son during his teen years; he believes that it may have made a huge difference in his life.
Beyond the immense impact of that ten-thousand-dollars, I am completely blown away by not only the serendipity and astounding correlations of the entire story, but the enormous act of self-less generosity this man has offered us. When I asked about publicizing his gift through our website, social media, and local papers, he specified that he wanted no recognition and wished to remain completely anonymous. In this age of self-promotion, to find a human being who is, not only willing, but insistent upon offering sincere help without public acknowledgement is rare indeed. And, to know that our work right here at Deep Root Center, an organization he had never encountered until he was introduced by our mutual acquaintance (whom I will be eternally grateful to), has inspired that generosity, is beyond humbling.
In these waning days of 2018, we need your assistance more than ever to meet our budget. While the above donation was instrumental in keeping our doors open this fall, we continue to struggle to pay our monthly obligations because of our promise to accept any student who dares to take charge of their education and life – no matter their financial situation. I am asking you to please contemplate how Deep Root Center may have made a difference for one of your loved ones – then go to our website to donate. If you are not able to contribute yourself, consider starting a conversation with folks who might not know of us. As we have discovered, connections are made, and the seeds of new tales are sown in the most unlikely of places.
If your gift arrives before midnight December 31st, you will be able to deduct it from your 2018 taxes.
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