Tim Ferriss thinks so, and he’s bringing together an amazing list of influencers like Marc Andreessen, Drew Curtis, Tom Foremski, Matt Mullenweg, Darren Rowse, Premal Shah, Gina Trapani and lots of others to help him do it. When I first met Tim at an event before his phenomenally successful 4 Hour Workweek came out, he was just getting ready for the book launch. At SxSW, when the book (and Tim) were just starting to generate buzz – we had a great lunch brainstorm talking about angles for the book and how to market it. A few short weeks later, 4HWW was out and rocketing to the top of all the best seller lists (check out Steve Rubel’s great summary of his marketing strategy). Clearly, Tim is no stranger to setting bold goals for himself and is one of those people that usually get there.
So when he emailed me and said he was launching LitLiberation aiming to hit $1 million to fund small school projects by getting lots of top bloggers to add their voices and identities to the campaign, it didn’t take long for me to jump in. My wife is a teacher, so I understand well the problem that many teachers have of never getting enough funding to do the things they want to do or give their students the resources they need. Many times, teachers are spending their own money to buy these things, a tragedy if you consider how underpaid most teachers are in this country. The LitLiberation Project through DonorsChoose.org let’s these teachers enter proposals which you can choose to fund, and the bloggers Tim has invited can participate by creating their own challenges and funding them. After searching for some time, I choose just over ten projects that I thought looked great and already put in more than $500 of my own money to fund some of them. Here are a few simple proposals from teachers that are listed on my page:
- A lamination machine to create cards for children with Autism to help them learn
- Post-it notes for high schoolers to easily take notes without writing in their text books
- A new carpet for a Kindergarten classroom to create a germ free environment
- New international music CDs from Putumayo and others to replace a cut school music program
Most of these proposals need just a few hundred bucks and they are fully funded. It’s not like Kiva.org where you are lending the money, but being part of this challenge made me realize that it does offer the one thing that most literacy and school funding programs have trouble generating: a sense of urgency. This is not like a broken dam or a village ravaged by war where the effects are highly visible. But it is important and has a direct impact on all of our futures. So have a look at some of the projects on my page and across DonorsChoose.org and consider donating, create your own page, blogging or writing about this cause or finding any other way you can to help. Tim’s an inspiring guy, and his latest inspiration can help a lot of people. I’m glad to be part of it.