What is SM4SC and why should I care?

As we’ve been going through planning our two fundraising events to benefit City Harvest, it’s be, one virtual (which is tonight), and one in person (April 3), I’ve heard anecdotally, that people don’t even know who SM4SC is, and what our events are all about. So, I’d like to share the science about who are are, and what we hope to do with your help.

In a nutshell, SM4SC (the backronym for Social Media for Social Change) has one goal – to mobilize all of the connections and networks we’ve built using social media tools, and also through the multitude of social events in cities all around the work, to do a little bit of good for a charity in a selected city. In short – assemble globally to affect local change for one charity in the host city. Social media happens to be the vehicle for a lot of these connections, but all people are more than welcome (in fact, we love it when people from all walks of life contribute to events – it’s just another affirmation that social media is slowly mainstreaming).

Our first in-person event (fundraiser sounds so staunch to me) was in Boston in October 2008, and was attended by about 90 people, and the most awesome and reassuring thing was that along with a circle of our friends and direct connections – we got a lot of people who noone had ever met before. And everyone believed in the cause – the beneficiary of our first event was a fabulous organization called Jane Doe, based in Boston, that helps to break the cycle of domestic violence and help those affected by it. In total, we were able to raise more than $20,000 in donations, sponsorships and event sales, and for an event that was convinced less than 12 weeks before, it was a stunning and humbling success.

When we started to plan the next event, we decided that it was time to try to take the stage to New York City, a city I’ve lived in for my entire life, and one that tends to get a really tough rap for being mean and difficult and hard to live in. But I’ve seen the graciousness of people here, after 9/11, during the blackouts, in everyday life. New Yorkers know life is tough, and more often than not, people will reach out to try to help people get through the days.

Then the financial collapse really started to hit home. New York is a city that runs on huge sums of money, and when the financial industry started to wobble, and fail, the impact was felt by many, many levels of people. Everyone from those who made millions in bonuses and lived in Central Park, the middle-class people pulling in salaries at these firms and all the way down to the hot dog vendor, the bartender and waitress in the local dive and the cleaning people. New York, and is, hit hard. The palpable sense of shock when the mass layoffs started to hit was substantial. People were jobless, and more people than ever, were hungry.

The double blow came when the direct donations and volunteers that these companies provided disappeared nearly overnight. So, it became obvious that we needed to go even more macro – and help fight hunger in New York, and a partnership with City Harvest became a natural choice.

So, here’s where we need your help. It costs City Harvest just 28 cents to rescue a pound of food that would otherwise go to waste for a needy New Yorker, and we’d love to save as much food as possible for people who need it now more than ever. And, we know that money is tight for everyone, so we appreciate every dollar you can spare for our cause. Whether you’re in NY, or somewhere else in the world, we need your help!

Here’s how you can help.

  • Tonight, we’re doing an online pajama party we’ve dubbed Stay In and Help Us, where we are encouraging you to stay in for the night and donate what you would have spent on a night out to City Harvest. The proceeds from your one night out could help a needy family for weeks. But, any donation is welcome, and if you decide to go out, you can certainly still donate.
  • On Friday, April 3, we’ll be at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City for a great night of fun, entertainment, networking and surprises. Open bar for the first 90 minutes. Live music. Auction and raffle prizes. The tickets are on sale now and start at $35, but after Monday, they will go to $45. I *know* this is a lot of money, especially now, but at $35 you personally be saving 96 pounds of food. At $45 you’ll be saving 126 pounds of food that would otherwise go to waste. EVERYONE IS WELCOME. The point is to put together new people from all walks of life, technology, art, science, legal, creative, whatever.
  • Donate ANY amount from $1 to $1,000 or more on our Firstgiving page. We appreciate ANY donation you would like to give.
  • If you have product or services you would like to donate in kind, we’ll be having an auction and a raffle at the event. We’ve gotten some great donations so far, but are always looking for more. Contact us if you’re interested in helping out. We’ll be happy to promote your brand or service online and at the event.

Through our partnerships and sponsors, virtually every dollar collected will go directly to City Harvest. You often hear how 100% of the proceeds will benefit a charity, but that takes into account any costs or expenses in accumulating that money, which often takes a large chunk out of the total (we’ve learned this the hard way). 100% of the proceeds of SM4SC New York will benefit City Harvest, but virtually 100% of EVERY DOLLAR COLLECTED will as well. Your dollars are going directly to the people who need it most. And your cash donations through Firstgiving are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

So, thanks for reading. Please reblog and tell your friends about tonight’s online event (which doesn’t even require you to leave the house), and our event on April 3 in NYC.

I hope to see you all there.

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