Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Letter From Damian
Hello people,

It's me, Damian, in Australia. We're getting ready for a short little tour here, which is exciting because, like absolutely everyone, I'm super into marsupials, and it's a rare chance for a boy like me to watch the toilet flush backwards.

I'm writing to ask for your help with a little good old-fashioned world-saving. My close friend and former band-mate*, Oliver, is one of the brains behind DonorsChoose.org, one of the coolest non-profits I know of. They're finalists to win a huge grant from the American Express Member's Project and they need your vote -- it'll only take a couple minutes of your time, and it'll do a lot of good.

DonorsChoose.org is a website listing public school teachers' best ideas for classroom projects. Public school teachers, who are so chronically under-funded that they often have to pay for books and materials out of their own pockets, submit projects they need money for, and real people like you and Jorge and my mom (bless her heart) can browse the various submissions and choose to directly help fund the ones that strike a chord. It's an ingeniously simple system that actually helps the people who need the help; 100% of the money ($13 million so far!) goes to classroom projects, unless donors specifically earmark their donation to help keep the lights on at DonorsChoose.org.

The AmEx grant is huge (up to $5 million), and chosen by an online vote open to all AmEx cardholders. If we vote DonorsChoose.org to victory, every penny will go to fund the more than ten thousand classroom projects in their database; DonorsChoose.org won't keep a dime. Which is pretty cool.

Right now, our heroes are in 2nd place behind a project that's semi-secretly funded by Procter & Gamble (a $68 billion pharmaceuticals/manufacturing mega-corporation with 140 thousand employees), who want the grant money to help distribute their "Pur" water filtering system. This affiliation isn't mentioned on the site, but the NY Times wrote about it last week. Here's the article, and here's another one from Consumerist.com.

So, if you have an American Express card (or one of these other ones), do me (and 250 thousand public school kids) a favor and vote for vote for DonorsChoose.org.. And if you don't have an AmEx (or an advanced Hogswarts degree in computer hackery), forward this email to people who might.

In any event, you should check out DonorsChoose.org and see what it's all about. We found a few projects that seemed particularly awesome and put them in this registry. Browse those if you like, or search for your own. Only good things will come of it.

Thanks all,


PS: If reading a whole post about things that are good and positive and completely wholesome messed with your brain, sorry. To set it back to normal, here's a photo of the creepiest person I saw during our visit to Taiwan. Oops, here he is again.

*Wiki-nerds, start your engines. We were called Calixto Chinchile, and we existed for about 3 months in 1996. Or maybe it was 97. Somewhere out there, there's a recording of us playing the very first version of "Hello, My Treacherous Friends."

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Blogger AnneD said...

Good luck with a great project! The Amex site won't recognize me as a cardholder, so I can't vote. Boo.

PS Damian, I hope you guys will return to Lupo's on your next tour.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Karen H. said...

Good luck w/ this!
Oh and the second creepy Flicker photo link goes to a "private page" and we can't see the photo :-)

Oh and while I'm here: I want OK Go/kangaroo pics!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned about this organization in one of my education classes for college. It truly is a great help to some teachers (who end up spending $1000+ on materials that the school system just won't include in the budget). Thanks for making more people aware of this site, Damian.
And your mom is awesome!

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Reading this made me feel all fuzzy and warm inside.
i love it how all these bands are really getting out there and helping these organizations that really need it.
Good Luck, i might get my mom and dad on thier to vote because i cant i dont have any credit cards!

P.S Well i wanna see pictures of you guys holding koala bears! kangaroos are second best to koalas in my views.

Much Love

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Hey guys, just wanted to say I saw your gig at splendor on Sunday, and I have to say it was a top effort, much love from the home of marsupials...
Also, Jen, koalas are marsupials not bears, although they are better than Kangaroos, I'll agree.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tee hee,
i missed your gig at splendour cos our driver was hitting on a chick by walking her up and down byron's beaches in hopes of exhausting her into a state where his come ons were irresistable...
anyway, we finally made it and headed immediately for backstage beers.
I have two little friends, Jye Austin and Elsie Maise, who at ages 11 and 8, are already veteran gig pigs. I'm like their PR person (ie. the only adult not too embarassed to harass bands for autographs for them....) and OK Go were super lovely to them! They signed autographs, posed for pictures and gave the girls the sign off their bandroom demountable, and they did this with suitcases in hand, as they were about to head off to the airport for parts unknown...
But wait! There's more! Not only did they make these little cherubs night, they also made ours! My husband's band played the night before and we were, alas, bandroom-less for the second night - sob!! Tim returned for a last check of the OK Go bandroom for lost items and bandmembers and offered us the use of their empty bandroom and their leftover rider! SWEET! I introduced him to Joe and they bonded over that bass player thing (how it is IMPOSSIBLE for a trained monkey to replace them on the dong dong dong of the bass...personally I'm not so sure...) and swapped CD's. Well, Tim got a Grinspoon CD but we already have theirs...hehe.
Anyway, I've liked you guys since I first saw your clip on YouTube and now I like youse even more! Being a band plus-one, I've been lucky enough to meet lots of musos and not all of them are class acts like you guys.
So thanks again for the nice things for the wee girls and for us bigger kids - hopefully we'll see you down under again sometime!
Dirty Little Slurry
ps hope y'all enjoyed the Grinners album too....

10:46 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

GRRRRRRR! I HATE sneaky underhanded multinationals like P&G (and Amex as well, for not even mentioning the connection and making it sound all grassroots)

Kudos to you, Damain, for posting this on the site! I love it when you guys, my most favorite music makers in the world, bring awareness to your fans!
way to go..keep it up..we need more of it out here!

11:45 PM  
Blogger cem said...


2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got turned on t you guys via you tube....the infamous jogging machines. Never even heard of you in England, what the F*%K was I missing. Gonna go lookin for your album (can u say that these days?) ok, CD. Will be looking out for your next visit to these happy shores. OK..keep GOing
New fan x

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Tracey said...

Hi there,
When are you guys coming back to Australia (and in particular Melbourne)? It'd be great to see you play live.
Hope to see you soon!

4:26 AM  
Blogger online cooking said...

Wow, Damian. It's been ages and wow, you're a far cry from that skinny kid I knew. Take care,

Paul Rinehart from DC

6:53 PM  

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