Please help me thumb my nose at Obama!


The First Iconic Photo of the Obama Administration

I have no idea how to establish any sort of foundation or charity fund-raising operation. I am very ignorant about most things, and intimidated by the idea of establishing anything.

But I have been so angry, for so long, at Barack Obama and the Democrats for dismantling the DC School Voucher program, which was an excellent school-choice solution that gave parents and students a real means of escape from the atrocious schools in Washington DC, that I have been itching for months to do something about this, that is completely outside of the government.

I want to do something to thumb my nose at the government, right now, and at the same time benefit someone else!

Here is the story:

The Senate last week all but decreed the demise of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program when it rejected, in a 55 to 42 vote, a measure that would have permitted the enrollment of new students by reauthorizing the program for another five years. Introduced by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), the measure was vigorously opposed by the teachers unions. Hence, only three Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Dianne Feinstein of California and Bill Nelson of Florida — joined Republicans in supporting the program that has, since 2004, allowed hundreds of needy children to attend private schools instead of low-performing public schools. . . The animus toward this tiny, clearly successful program is not grounded in logic. “The real goal of education,” Ms. Feinstein said, sensibly enough, “ought to be to provide a number of different choices for youngsters, so you can see where they learn best and then enable them to be in that situation.” That’s supposed to be the philosophy of Mr. Obama’s Education Department, too, which purports to want to reward programs that work. The program has been subject to rigorous scientific study, and preliminary evaluations have shown academic gains and student improvement. But the Obama administration had shut the door on new students and didn’t lift a hand to rally support for its continuation.

“What is everybody scared of?” Ms. Feinstein asked. Sadly, the answer is no secret: Teachers unions have an outsized influence on the Democratic Party.

I have beenbeen itching for months to do something about this“>Here is what I want to do:

My blog may be small, but it has the best and most generous readers around; wouldn’t it be great if we could establish an “Anchoress Scholarship Fund for DC,” where we raise enough each year to purchase a voucher for one student? And other bloggers could do the same thing! I could imagine a Glenn Reynolds Scholarship Fund, and Althouse-Meade Scholarship Fund, the First Things First Fund for DC, the HotAir DC Scholarship Fund, the Small Dead Animals Fund, the Blogs Lucianne Loves Fund for Scholarships, the Deacon’s Bench DC Fund and Little Miss Attila Fund for Student-Warriors (the recipient might be required to identify Attila…).

Then I realized that a million bloggers creating a million funds might end up -like messy big government- being too sprawling and disorganized to be effective, accountable and measurable.

So, why not streamline the effort? Why can’t we take a page from the Soldier’s Angels and Project Valor, whereby bloggers and their readers are encouraged to fund-raise and donate to the scholarship fund under the aegis of their favorite site. The Anchoress, being a smaller site, might only be able to send one kid to a better school, while a huge site like HotAir or Malkin or Gateway Pundit might be able to help dozens. The centralized collection makes it manageable, the individual blogger effort makes it fun and competitive, and in the end thousands (perhaps millions) of people who are frustrated by a situation that has not gotten better under the guidance of government will be working together to effect real (not hopeychangey) change in a small but powerful way, while demonstrating some important truths to the whole nation: that government is not the solution to every problem – in fact it is often the lumbering impediment to solutions; that unquestioning allegiance to a political party should never trump one’s allegiance to the nation-at-large; that caricatures and stereotypes have had their day and should have no part in 21-Century American determinism.

As I said, I don’t know how to do this – my gut tells me to just install a Paypal donate button for the “Anchoress Scholarship Fund” and ask you to donate, but I’m sure there must be some legal consideration that must come first. And I doubt that it will be tax-deductible.

But I remember that after Haiti’s earthquake, Team Rubicon did not have tax-deductible status, but people still donated.

We’ve got to be able to do something like this. It can’t be that hard. And nothing would make me happier right now (and I expect nothing would make a lot of people happier) than to tell President I-will-pay-for-everything-as-long-as-it-does-not-anger-the-Unions Obama that the American people are not disposed to his controls and his forced laws, and his “have a handout” mentality.

We can give a hand up to others without his dictate, thanks very much.

It kills me -the staggering irony of a president and a party that were so offended by the idea of a “status quo” continuing in health insurance- have no problem at all with a “status quo” of failure and kowtowing to a bloated teachers unions, in perpetuity.

Man, I am loaded for bear right now. Paint my face blue and gimmee a sword, a braid and a kilt. I’m ready to go! Shall I cry “Freedom” or “The King is a Fink”?

“Remaking America,” indeed.

UPDATE: A friend write to tell me that calling this a “Help-A-Student” Fund raiser, instead of a “Thumbing Noses at Obama” event might be a better idea in the long run. Perhaps. But I’m still painting my face blue!

Related:
Watch Sen. Dianne Feinstein argue in favor of the Voucher program

Hot Air: Obama’s SecEd Manipuated School Lists to Favor Powerful

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Sheryl Bryant

    I’m with you Anchoress. Getting out my blue facepaint and kilt . . . . .

  • Tom

    Great initiative. Just let us know what you work out and I will contribute. Thanks for all you do with your blog. I find it inspirational. Tom

  • http://crimevictimsmediareport.com Tina T.

    Good for Senator Bill Nelson. He’s a thoughtful guy.

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  • Tonestaple

    Second, or third the motion – I have a blue highlighter handy which should do the trick. But the slogan is definitely “The King is a fink” because anything else would imbue The One with too much dignity.

    This is an interesting idea, Anchoress, and I like it a lot. If someone sets up the 501-c-3 and designs some reasonable criteria for the award of scholarships, I’m there. I’m right there with you – I have no idea how to do this stuff but it’s a delightful way to flip off the president.

  • Myssi

    There has to be an attorney among your readers who could help with this. I think it’s a great idea and will hit the paypal button as soon as it’s installed – not for the tax break but literally for the children of DC. They are the least among us and I am commanded by Love to help them.
    Besides, I was seriously tempted to fill in Pict as my ethnicity on the census forms – blue paint and kilts go a long way back in my family tree. :-) “For America and for freedom” (Okay, so it was for Scotland way back…but the idea is the same.)

  • Marcy

    Dear Anchoress,
    I’m with you. This is a fabulous idea.

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  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Bender’s Cheerleader

    Geez Anchoress – this is a no-brainer. Only one of your most prolific comment posters is an attorney extraordinaire…

    Bender? Bender, where are you? You’re needed here…

  • Rebecca

    *thumbs up*

    Fantastic idea! As a teacher, I’m infuriated by the unions’ willingness to be used as pawns (and urge their members to likewise let themselves be used). Oh that I could designate my mandatory union dues be given to a deserving youngster instead! Now then, where’s my kilt…?

    *taps fingers waiting for paypal button* ;-)

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    It can’t be that hard.

    And yet it is. Why? Because of overbearing oppressive government.

    Because of all the landmines that are strewn throughout tax law, probably securities law, corporations law, trust law, possibly elections law, telecommunications law, and on and on and on. Given that it is an interstate endeavor, over the Internet, you have both federal law that applies, plus likely local D.C. law, New York state law (the Anchoress’ home), with implications for the laws of other states.

    You’re right — it should be simple. Just collect some money and give it to some needy kid. But there are tax cops and SEC cops and any number of other cops and left “watchdogs” who would very likely be looking for any excuse to find violations of law if each and every T is not crossed and each and every I is not dotted properly.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    The attorneys over at the Washington Archdiocese probably know all that would need to be done.

    Bender only knows enough to know that he doesn’t know enough.

    [Dude, come on! Help me! -admin]

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    AND, there may be a bunch of other landmines buried in ObamaCare, given that there is a government takeover of the student loan industry in the reconciliation “fix.”

  • Supertradmom

    Are we not in a situation of “no taxation without representation”?

    I feel that all the noble efforts of my ancestors from Europe, who helped set up Catholic education here in America have been summarily destroyed, not merely disregarded.

    Patriotism is a minor virtue, I keep reminding myself.

  • AC Chickadee

    I’m all for it. I’d love to thumb my nose at the Inept One and do something good at the same time. I noticed that the politicians that are so against this all have their children in private schools.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    The setting up of a scholarship fund is pretty easy — if it is just you. You simply create a trust (or LLC or other entity).

    It is the solicitation and receipt and disbursement of money from other people that is the tricky part which exposes one to all sorts of legal liabilities — civil and criminal — if not done properly.

    [So, I can't just go over to Legal Zoom and make an LLC, right? That's what I thought. But still, this can't be impossible! -admin]

  • scmommy

    Bender, maybe you and Glenn Reynolds could get together and hash this through for the Anchoress?

  • jill e

    Can’t you accept tax-free “gifts” of up to $10,000 from any one person. What you do with the gifts is up to you!

  • jill e

    Actually, it’s now $13,000. And from what I’m reading, you can give it to family or nonfamily and the receiver pays no taxes on the money up to $13,000.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    So, I can’t just go over to Legal Zoom and make an LLC, right?

    Correct, more or less.

    But still, this can’t be impossible!

    Not impossible, just very cumbersome — and not merely the set up, but the administration, requiring all sorts of strict recordkeeping and government filings. And all it would take would be one disgruntled donor to cause a lot of trouble.

    Like I said, I don’t know enough to do it myself. I only know that the whole thing would scare me.

  • Lily

    Dear Beautiful Anchoress Lady: This is truly a noble cause (and sticking it to Obama and the Teacher’s Union is a bonus). I can’t help believing that some lawyer in your church would be willing to sit down and advise you on such a cause. All sorts of smaller charitable groups given scholarships – it really cannot be THAT hard.

    I’ll donate.

  • http://sharprightturn.wordpress.com Sharp Right Turn

    Great idea…my blog isn’t big enough, but I would certainly donate to your cause.

    I, too, am in full Braveheart mode.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    One way to avoid the problems associated with handling other people’s money is to identify the student recipient and school first and then have people send money directly to the student and/or school, as opposed to collecting money, holding it, and only then finding a student to give it to.

  • F

    I know you can also go under an established fund/entity/non-profit and use it to give money.

  • http://fatherlouie.blogspot.com beth cioffoletti

    You might want to look at the SEED school, a DC charter school that serves inner city youth. 97% of their graduates go to college. They have a school philosophy that works, and they are expanding their schools. You might want to support them, rather than re-invent the wheel.

    (also, why did you delete my comment applauding the work of Nancy Pelosi? #128 on the post where you were upset about her comments about St. Joseph)

    [I don't think keeping a Successful school voucher program alive is "reinventing the wheel." SEED is a public boarding school is it not? Don't know if I support that idea. I think I support the idea of kids and parents living their lives together and getting a chance at a better education. Not certain you have to take the kid out of the family environment to educate them. As to your Pelosi comment, I have no idea what happened to it, but you may note that I had a huge influx of comments, some scandalous trolls and a spam attack of some moment - this comment, as a matter of fact, has been fished out of my spam filter, which seems to have something of a mind of its own as both Dry Valleys (our leftist friend) and Jeanette (our righty friend) can attest. If your comment was lost as I waged battle with all that, well, I apologize. I do my imperfect best. -admin]

  • mrp

    BTW, Ace is reporting that, while Obama could barely wait 36 hours to sign the Obamacare bill, the WH is saying that it will sign Stupak’s Executive Order “soon”.

  • MMR

    Here’s a how-to:

    link

    looks painful. But, I’m with you on the cause. and the blue face paint!

    I’m thinking on this..too good a cause to let slip because of burdensome administrative tasks

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  • JuliB

    Anchoress – I’ve set up c3*s and c4s (as a non-lawyer, but a darn intelligent chick). It’s pretty easy to do, it just is a lot of paperwork. I’ve always gone the non-profit corp route (and yes, I’ve incorporated, developed by-laws, etc as well) – the LLC is an unknown to me and I am wary of it for many reasons.

    (* – 1 is for a multi-state cat rescue : greatlakesbengalrescue.com ((talk about herding cats to get the paperwork done!)) and the other was for an “issues” group)

    While there may be several who offer, if you’d like assistance I would LOVE to help.

    [Thanks, Julie and all - I may be emailing and picking your brains during the week. I have one avenue I am going to try tomorrow, though, that I think may be helpful! -admin]

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  • Kathreja

    I am on my phone at the moment but a few legal considerations…

    1 articles of incorporation of this is for dc then in dc. For this you would need a “board member or officer” in dc

    2 either convince the Adw to recognize you as a catholic group and get included in the next catholic directory (automatic non profit status) or fill out the paperwork it is a pain in the butt however gives a sense of credability

    3 open a bank acct. At a real life bank.

    Email me for more info I work in dc at a non profit

  • Colleen

    Can you simply publish the name/website of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund and have people donate directly to them? Not sure whether Congress’s refusal to fund the program means it is completely out of business. Maybe a circle of like minded bloggers could put a button that links to their donate page on their sites.

    [That's not a bad idea, either. I would really like to do something that specifically involves the blogs, though. It makes a statement, if you know what I mean. -admin]

  • http://miastucia.blogspot.com DC

    Great idea Anchoress! “a small blog” may be all God needs. 8)

  • Manny L.

    Education costs are another of my many pet peeves. Even if it costs $10,000 per student per year and there are 30 students to a class, that’s $300,000 per classroom. What’a a teacher’s salary, a third of that if you include overhead? Where does $200,000 per class per year go? What do they do with all that money? How ineficient are our school systems? And yet they are always crying they don’t have enough money. Well, perhaps money is not getting to the classroom, but they do raise enough revenue.

    That sounds like a great idea. If you figure out how to establish the foundation, count me as a contributer.

  • http://www.ponderingpenguin.blogspot.com Karen Townsend

    I live in Houston. We have KIPP and other charter schools doing wonderful work. I’ve taken workshops on grant writing and am at your service on this project!

  • Rosemary A.

    Paint me blue and point me toward D.C.! I’m sure a plump Granny (like me) wearing a kilt would be an intimidating opponent. I’ll keep checking your blog so I can donate when your fund is up and running. Rosemary in Missouri

  • kevino

    RE: Washington D.C. school voucher program

    It’s a shame, but as long as Democrats run Washington D.C. politics, it’s the kind of government that they can expect and deserve.

    To paraphrase the “Joker” in the Batman movie: “Decent people shouldn’t Washington D.C.: they’d be happier someplace else.”

    Or, as Dylan said in the song, “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”: “Anyone with any sense had already left town.”

  • http://wontbefooledagain.net George Fprd

    I will help with a donation and anything you need in terms of copywriting or web design work. Great idea!

  • Lori

    Great idea, Anchoress! You should start a Facebook group too, to help spread the word. I’ll donate!

  • http://www.zazzle.com/shanasfo shana

    Where does all that money go?

    Many school districts waste money like crazy.

    Case in point: As a home schooler, I am often called by local teachers offering me old books or other items that are going to be tossed. Most of it isn’t useful to me – I can and do buy much better books through home schooling catalogs.

    One year, a teacher in a neighboring state gave me a phonics program worth thousands of dollars (in sheer bulk of materials as it was for an elementary school of several classrooms – not that much if I bough a home educator’s set of one book, one work book etc)

    The set was a favorite of all the teachers, had gotten the students really reading well, everyone happy with it — until a new mucky-muck (I think a superintendent, but I’m not sure) was hired.

    This Genius didn’t like phonics. She liked ‘whole word’ reading. She literally threw away a proven, effective and expensive program which had raised reading levels substantially in this one elementary school, for some program that the teachers had to be trained to use, was also quite expensive, and because it also incorporated Spanish in a largely non-Hispanic area, the teachers felt would be garbage compared to the boxes of stuff one teacher was handing over to me. If one teacher hadn’t stolen it out of the dumpster, it would have gone to waste entirely. She was breaking the law in giving it to me, too, because in that state, all public materials cannot be given away, but must be sent to the dump. (Including old library books!)

    Teachers tell me that happens all the time. Good math books gone and replaced with ‘spiral math’ books. (Go look that up on YouTube. Holy cow, no wonder the young can’t do math or use reason) Good science replaced with junk science. Horrible movies and badly written and sexualized emo-teen novels replacing classic literature texts.

    It is so sad.

    [Don't even get me started on that "whole language" nonsense. My Elder Son was taught phonics and has always been a champion speller. Buster came into first grade when our school district decided to experiment with "whole language." He and his classmates can't spell for beans. Parents were "discouraged" from teaching phonics at home, but I did try. Four years into that "experiment" the superintendent, realizing the whole language idea was not serving, threw that out for phonics again. In the meantime there are thousands of kids around here who never learned some very simple mechanisms and rules for spelling. But -ill equipped for reading and writing- they are supposed to "feel good about themselves" as they deal with college at a clear disadvantage. Grrrr. -admin]

  • Roz Smith

    This was my area of practice. I’m too rusty to do the filings themselves but can send you some practical advice like record keeping advice, pitfalls, the common jargon, etc.

    One thing that immediately comes to mind is that such entities report both to the IRS and to the Secretary of State in the jurisdiction in which they operate. Since you are in New York but you want the scholarships to go to students in DC, you may need to take care to avoid having to file in both NY and with the municipal authorities in DC.

    Another thing to always keep in mind are the IRS self dealing and private inurement rules. Note that people like Lance Armstrong link their personal websites and blogs to their charities but they have no reverse link from the charity to the blog. Even of the .com paid the .org at the going rate for hits from that site there would be a self dealing issue.

    There seems to be some confusion about contributions versus gifts among your readers. There are no limits on the amount that can be contributed to a qualified charitable organization. The $13,000 some readers refer to is the unified estate and gift tax limitation. Gifts can only be made by one individual or married couple to another individual. The estate and gift tax is paid by the donor not the recipient and is meant to limit the accumulation of immense wealth in a single family. A gift has no effect on either the donor or the recipient’s income tax unless it is found that such a gift was, in effect, a disguised payment for services. Charitable contributions, on the other hand, can be made by both individuals and entities such as corporations. Contributions are deductible for income tax purpose by the donor, although purposes although the donor may not be able to claim the entire amount of a really large contribution in a single year as that amount is capped at a percent of the donor’s income. Any excess carries over to future years.

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  • JuliB

    After reading many of the comments following mine – I think the hardest thing is the admin in keeping it going. Starting it is the relatively easy part!

    As for the Bengal cat rescue -I am VP and Sec’t. We have monthly (or so) board meetings (written into our by laws) with minutes posted. I send out official donation acknowledgments. Our Treasurer who keeps the books, issues reports would normally do that, but….

    In addition,you would need at least 2 or 3 trusted people to handle misc email correspondence; a volunteer coordinator (or 2, or 3 or 4); and several committees / committee heads.

    You’re talking about a full blown organization here! Now, it’s possible to do this all volunteer, but it is a challenge. And it NEVER stops, esp if it goes viral (and I am SURE it would). And if/when it hits the MSM… eek!!

    It might be easier over the long term to find an org doing what you’d like to do and channel your energy into publicizing and fund raising for them.

    I don’t say this this to dissuade you,but to give some guidelines for consideration. The issues org which I helped found is still ongoing (10 years now) but I seriously burned out after 5 years. I have purposely minimized my cat rescue involvement so to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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  • CT

    Hi Anchoress,

    For this to be successful, you want to keep it as simple as possible. I would contact the school to see if they will allow the use of their existing non-profit status to accept donations. If that’s possible, it would relieve you of the burden of setting up such an entity.

    First though, you’d need to know how the fundraising would actually function. I recall from a few years ago, a fundraising competition among some blogs. I don’t remember the beneficiary, but each blog was connected to the charity’s site where donations were accepted. Each blog then promoted the cause and displayed the amount donated by its readers.

    A search came up with the Soldiers’ Angels Project Valor. link With them, blogs sign up for teams and then promote the fundraiser on their websites. You could check with them as to how it’s done.

    RightPundits took part – their page from last fall: link .

    I also found Firstgiving, an organization that sets up online fundraising for a fee. link

    They have webinars that explain how it works.
    “Competition for the cause” link

    “7.5% Service fee? You can’t be serious!” link

    Hope this is useful.

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  • Trump

    Sorry Anchoress. I can’t support this (not that you want or need it lol)

    You propose to help those who overwhelmingly voted for Obama.

    Morally, I propose that’s terrible.

    If you give them a fish (your scholarship) they’ll eat for a day. But if they have to suffer with the fruits of their idealogy, they JUST may learn a lesson that resonates and impacts long afterwards.

    You’re simply making it easier for them to keep on voting away your freedom.

  • Golden Arrow

    This morning after reading Fr. Hesburgh’s article WSJ 3/18 for the second time I was equally outraged about the DC scholarship program’s demise! Melted the phone lines to the Capitol and WH. Standing in the schoolhouse door yet again the democrats are shamelessly pandering to the teachers unions. Unfortunately being ill educated doesn’t fall under pre-existiing conditions that will be covered.

  • dnb

    Anchoress, I will work on this with you. We can call it “Save the Washington D.C. Voucher System,” or “Republicans, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,” or simply, “Vouch for Me.” These children deserve a chance. We can learn (and pray) together. Let’s get started right after Easter!


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