December 21, 2010

Community of the Year

I had quite a surprise this weekend: I woke up to find that my name has been offered for the Washington Post's "Person of the Year." See this note by Mike McCurry, former press secretary to President Bill Clinton.

"There weren't many political heroes in Washington this midterm election year, but some extraordinary people are on the verge of doing something our politicians should celebrate: ending childhood hunger in the District. There are about 35,000 kids in the District who live in poverty. Now a partnership of activists (both faith-based and secular) and concerned public officials have come forward with a real plan to make sure that by 2016, no child goes hungry. Many deserve recognition, but most would agree that the greatest champion of hungry kids is George Jones of Bread for the City."
Mr. McCurry was right: recognition is due to the entire community of people working together to end hunger in our city. As flattering as it is to see my name mentioned among such prominent company, I hasten to assert that it's our community -- service providers, policymakers, educators, organizers, and supporters like you -- that deserves special recognition for our work this year. I am merely fortunate to work among such dedicated and generous people. Thank you.

That said, I'd like to use this unexpected spotlight to issue a challenge to this great community. Last December, Bread for the City raised just about $100,000 through our website alone. The outpouring was incredible.

When I mentioned this to Bread for the City's Board President, Mark Aron, he was impressed -- and upon thinking for a moment, he added, "I bet you can do even better this year."

With our brand new center, and exciting new programs, we do feel bigger than ever, and it's going to take even more work to live up to our potential in the New Year. So Mark has challenged us to raise $150,000 through online giving alone in these last two weeks of 2010. It's a tall order, but he's already put an additional $15,000 donation on the line himself -- with a challenge for us to follow suit and step up.

Can you help us reach our goal of $150,000 raised by the end of the year?

To meet this challenge, we'll need more than just the generosity of our current donors. We'll need to add 200 new donors to Bread for the City's community. I know that we can do this if you make a gift today, and then ask your friends and family to do the same.

The goal is lofty and it won't be easy to reach, but, heck, we just built a massive new medical clinic during the worst recession in a generation. Thank you for standing with us as we enter this new chapter. With all of us working together, anything's possible.

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