Many people question themselves on how they can make a difference, be it through volunteer hours, giving blood, or donating money to charity; to name a few of the many options available. But how many people actually do donate money or time to worthwhile causes?
- 95.4% of households give to charity annually.
- The average contribution from each household is $2,974.
- Americans gave $335 Billion dollars in 2013.
95.4%, just sit back and think about that for a moment. Only 4.6% of Americans did not donate to a charity last year. Personally, I know that I’ve donated multiple times in the last few years, pulling myself out of the minority. Supporting those that are less fortunate than you has a large place in my heart, and any small thing that I can do, I’ll do my best to do so. In this post, we’re going to delve into the giving side of people, the ones who attempt to make the difference in others lives.
But first, let me set this up. I am a frequent user of /r/Hockey, a Hockey forum on the popular website Reddit, and have gotten to know many of the users outside of the site. One of them would be /u/golf4miami (/u/ indicates “username” followed by the name), who consistently goes above and beyond in everything he does. Golf4miami also has spearheaded the “Charity Challenge” within the /r/Hockey community. The Charity Challenge ends on 10/22/14, however, I wanted to sit down and talk to Golf4miami about the great work that he’s done, along with the amazing contributions that the community itself has stepped forward and produced.
The current Charity Challenge is built around a challenge between the fan-bases of each team, and who can raise the most off of the ice. I’ll let Golf4miami tell you more below.
UdNs: Can you tell the readers where you came up with the idea for the /r/Hockey Charity Challenge?
G4M: I knew I wanted to do another Charity Challenge this year after the Olympic one last year and /u/LAKingsDave and /u/Blinsin both happened to be on twitter when I posed the question to kind of no one and helped inspire the idea of it being a contest between fandoms. I generally don’t come up with any really great ideas on my own; they are usually inspired into me by others. After last year though I knew I didn’t want it to be a single specific charity that /r/Hockey donated to this year and I knew I wanted it to be a competition between fan-bases. They helped set me down that course and get the idea truly moving in my mind.
UdNs: How many years have you been running the Challenge?
G4M: If you count the Olympic Challenge last year this would be the second year. This is the first year it’s looked like this however and after seeing how well it has been received in this iteration it will probably stay in this format for at least a couple years.
G4M: You Can Play is a great organization that has hockey roots which was my main focus in choosing charities for that challenge last year. What we did was choose 16 charities that either had hockey ties or were well known charities to everyone and then had the /r/Hockey users rank both those charities along with the 16 countries that participated in that tournament. So, in a way, /r/Hockey ultimately chose which charity we donated to.
I was happy with the results though, as You Can Play is somewhat near and dear to my heart as a former Miami University student and I love what they have been able to accomplish so far in trying to erase bigotry in sports.
UdNs: What is the running combined total? Did you have a specific goal in mind for this seasons challenge?
G4M: Right now the running total as of the time of answering this question is; $21,902.50 in cash, 96.5 volunteer hours, and 4 donations of blood. When I started the challenge this year the main focus was just on beating last year’s total of $3,300 or so. I figured $5k would be a realistic figure that we could reach and in the back of my mind I thought we could maybe reach $10k in total donations. After having passed both those, the goal now is just to try and get as much donated as possible to set a high bar for next year!
UdNs: Any thoughts on the results of the 2014 Charity Challenge?
G4M: I am just floored by the response by /r/Hockey. I knew that we had one of the most generous fan-bases in sports but this kind of response has just blown me away to no end. Every time I check my PMs and there is another donation to report, whether it be $10 or $2,500 it just makes me smile and happy to be a part of such a giving community.
UdNs: What charities have been donated to?
G4M: There have really been too many to keep track of. The three biggest have been: Doctors without Borders, various food banks, and Defending the Blue Line.
UdNs: What kind of background do you have in charity work?
G4M: I don’t have any serious background in charity work other than volunteer hours that I have worked.
UdNs: This season, you introduced Blood Donations and Volunteer Hours, where did that idea come from?
G4M: The idea to include blood donations and volunteer hours came straight from /u/Blinsin, he told me that /r/flyers were planning on having a blood drive around the same time as this challenge. Even though that seems to have fallen through I thought that I was important to show those who may not have available cash to give, that they can give back in other ways beyond cash. The need for blood is just as important as the need for money and the same could be said for volunteering your time.
UdNs: What kind of statistics can you provide us from this Challenge? (Most donated to charity, etc.)
G4M: The two most donated to charities are the Alameda County Food Bank which received an anonymous $5,000 donation from a Sharks fan and Doctors without Borders which has received donations from almost every fan base that has participated. I would say that the majority of the donations have come in anonymously as well, including that $5,000 which was even sent to me from a throwaway account to protect their identity.
UdNs: You also run All For Hockey, another brainchild of yours, can you tell us more about that? Future plans for AFH?
G4M: All For Hockey was a project that I started with another /r/Hockey member after being inspired by the Olympic Charity Challenge last year to do something beyond just the giving of our money. We wanted to be more invested in charity work and make more of a real impact on the world. We wanted to model ourselves after the Hyundai Hockey Helpers in Canada and use that model to bring the game to a forefront here in the states.
Unfortunately, even though we had the passion and drive to make it happen we lacked a distinct knowledge of how to make it happen. The flame for the project burned very hot for a few months and then burned out. We learned that even though it’s our project, we may not have all the answers and it may be better to let bits and pieces of control go to others so that we can let those pieces become better than anything we could have done with them. Learning the value of a strong and healthy support network was probably the biggest lesson.
All For Hockey is shelved for now. But I’m always looking at ways to try and bring it back or have an impact on the hockey community and the growth of the sport in other ways.
UdNs: What are some success stories of Charity or examples that drive you?
G4M: I think the biggest success story that drives me is what the Anaheim Ducks have been able to do in California in terms of growing the sport of hockey. Simply put they have done an amazing job of engaging their athletes and helping them to have a direct impact on their community and have helped to grow hockey in their area by a large amount.
UdNs: Who would you want to collaborate with on the next Charity Challenge?
G4M: I would love to work directly with teams and/or manufacturers to see how far we can push this and exactly how big of an impact we can have. At the same time though I think it is important to keep it on /r/Hockey and keep the roots of it being a challenge to the /r/Hockey membership. I want the community we have there to be able to look at what we have done and be proud of ourselves.
UdNs: And finally, congratulations on a successful challenge!
G4M: Thanks! We’re setting a high bar for next year, but I think we will be able to meet it.
One thing for sure is that the Hockey community is willing to donate and BE the change that we need in this day and age. What are you doing to help others?
A special thanks goes out to the users of /r/Hockey, who made the Charity Challenge and Olympic Challenges such huge successes. And to /u/golf4miami for all of the hard work and time that he’s put into the Challenges, along with agreeing to sit down with me to answer some questions.