If I found one million dollars in the morning and was mandated to spend it by nightfall, I would spend the first 10 minutes shedding a few tears for the fact that I cannot runaway to an oceanfront island writing retreat but then I would get busy donating it for causes that are near and dear to my heart.
My first donee would be the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is the newest addition to the Smithsonian Institute slated to open in 2015. As an American, who chooses to honor her unknown African descendant by being called an African-American, this museum will present to our country and the world the contributions of a people who endured much but never wavered from their pursuit of equality and the impact that pursuit had on American history and culture. Since I am a charter member, my first inclination is to donate the entire one million dollars but after consideration I will only donate $500,000.
My second donee would be the Houston Food Bank. This is my primary charity and I donate to it because it really bothers me to know there are people who are hungry in our country and in my city. The Houston Food Bank has partnerships in the food industry that allow them to purchase $6 of food for every $1 donated and they have been recently designated as the largest food bank in the United States that distribute to their agencies. Now that the SNAP cuts will start on November 1st, the food banks will need even more donations to assist the hungry. I will donate $250,000 to the Houston Food Bank which will allow them to purchase $1,500,000 of food.
My third donee would be UNICEF K.I.N.D (Kids in Need of Desks). This is another charity that is dear to my heart because it impacts the lives of children. I learned about it from watching “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC. The thought of African children sitting on the floor in their schools trying to read/write was very uncomfortable to me and to know that only $65 would buy a desk for 2 students made it easy to pull out my checkbook. Also, the purchase of the desks would also help their parents by enhancing the economy of the villages since they make the desks locally. I will donate $125,000 to K.I.N.D which will purchase approximately 2,000 desks and provide seats for 4,000 students.
The remaining $125,000 I will use to help poor students here in my home city of Houston that need computers in their schools. Last week, I learned of a situation from a friend who is a bilingual first grade teacher. Most of her students are the children of illegal immigrants but the children are Americans and in their school they are not provided the same computer equipment as students in the other classes. My friend was polling her friends/acquaintances asking for any old computers that we could donate to her class because of her concerns for her students. As a child of the 1960s, I find this appalling and I am sure there are similar situations in other schools.
So, this is how I would spend the one million dollars and it probably would not take me more than 2-3 hours to do so because these are organizations that I already donate to now (but only a miniscule fraction of one million dollars!).