My wife and I had an interesting conversation over the holidays. Out of the blue, my wife suggested I donate all of the revenue that this site generates to charity. My immediate response was what would be the point of building this site if I gave EVERYTHING to charity. I started The Dough Roller for a lot of reasons, most notably because I enjoy writing about investing, personal finance and retirement. But it’s also nice to make a little money from the effort, too. The money part of this equation was a shock to her. The fact is that the money earned from The Dough Roller is a pittance, but I know from experience that even small amounts of money, if invested regularly, can grow into very substantial sums. Her proposal to give it all away was classic Mrs. Dough.
Now at this point I was convinced that she just wasn’t getting this whole personal finance thing. Give it all away!?! Where’s the compounding in that? Of course, she was no doubt thinking, he just isn’t getting this whole life thing. Keep it all for yourself!?! Where’s the satisfaction in that? So at this point I sensed a compromise coming (actually she suggested it). Give 50% of everything The Dough Roller makes to charity. I didn’t answer right away. In fact I spent four days thinking about her proposal. And in the end, I decided to keep all the money for myself. Just kidding. Until further notice, The Dough Roller will donate 50% of every dollar that comes in the door to charity. And we are even going to donate 50% of everything The Dough Roller made in 2007, too (I started the website in May 2007). Here are the details.
We’ve selected Common Hope as the charity to receive the donations. My family and I spent a day at Common Hope last summer, and it truly is an amazing place. Common Hope is located in Antigua, Guatemala and is an organization dedicated to helping the children of Guatemala and their families in the areas of education, family development, health care and housing. In Guatemala, public education is not free:
In Guatemala, over one-third of the population cannot read, and the average adult attends school for only 4.8 years. Public school is not free. Families must pay registration fees and purchase uniforms, books, and supplies. As a result, many parents simply cannot afford to send their children to school. The cycle of poverty is continued.
Not only does Common Hope help children attend school, they provide additional tutoring and even provide education to the parents. Common Hope also assists families with housing needs. Here’s how the organization describes some of the housing in the country:
Many families in Guatemala live in small, dirt floor shacks made of cornstalks or materials scavenged from local dump sites. The majority of these dwellings do not have potable water or sanitation systems. Because people often burn open wood fires in their homes for cooking, respiratory illnesses are a leading cause of death in Guatemala.
Common Hope helps these families to build more livable homes. One of the great things about the program is that it’s not simply a handout. These families provide working hours to Common Hope in exchange for the necessary materials and skills to make their home a more livable dwelling.
If you’d like to learn more about Common Hope, you can go to their website at www.commonhope.org.
What about ‘Buying the B Share’
For those of you who have been following The Dough Roller, you know that I have been saving the revenue to eventually buy a B share of Berkshire Hathaway. I will continue moving toward this goal, but it will now be split with the charitable contributions. Along with the B share goal, I’ll keep track of how much we’ve given to Common Hope.
Why am I really giving 50% to charity?
It was that question I spent four days pondering after my wife made her proposal. It would be easy to say that I want to help people, which of course I do. But such an answer would be incomplete. I think giving 50% to charity will bring far more satisfaction than any B share ever could. I also think it will set the right motivational balance for this site, and in the end, result in a better product for you, the reader. Please don’t misunderstand me. Saving and investing are important, as any regular reader of The Dough Roller can attest. But saving and investing are a means to an end, not the end itself.
So how much are we giving from 2007 revenue?
We have donated $908.28 (actually, we rounded up to $910). That represents one-half of the income we have received from The Dough Roller in 2007. We’re hoping 2008 is even better.
Mr. & Mrs. Dough