Posts Tagged ‘investing’

The Importance of Serendipity

Photo Credit: babelita @Flickr

Photo Credit: babelita @Flickr

During open gallery hours, L is talking to a woman about the Congo Women project. She came in after seeing a sign detailing our exhibit in one of the space’s windows.

L is telling her about all the other work she hopes to fund, specifically, our forced labor initiative. 

The woman calls L a few days later. Over the phone, she tells her that someone is interested in funding the work needed to produce the case studies and the photography. It turns out that the woman is a donor advisor to an anonymous family.

Now, as a result of learning about AWP, the family will donate $50,000 to our Human Trafficking project.

Will $50,000 finish the work?


But, it will give us a great start.

At tonight’s meeting, L says the bank called her to confirm the address of our organization. So, it’s real. Really real. No applications, no forms or LOI’s to muddle through.

Earlier on the phone with the donor advisor, L asks, “Just like that?”

Yep. Just like that.

No knock on wood. No crossed fingers. Not one piggy flying in the sky. In a world where balance sheets can dwindle to zero in the blink of an eye, it’s more than miraculous to believe that money can fall out of nowhere… and right into your lap.

Opportunities arrive when you most need them or when least expected.  So, just to keep yourself sane, hold out a little expectation for serendipity as well. And when that happens, you can feel a lot better about what luck truly means.

Just like that.

Update: Our Human Trafficking Project (recently renamed “At what price…?”) got additional funding from the International Labor Organization – so we are fully funded to pursue and finish the case studies and photography. I’ll keep you updated on what happens next…

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I thought it would be fitting to post a more upbeat article since all the gloom and doom on Washington was beginning to bring me down. Congress has passed the mega huge bailout bill, but America is a long way from being out of the woods yet.

It can get overwhelming being bombarded with scary reports of rising job loss, slowed spending and an overall sagging economy.

So, if life gives you lemons, make a rockin’ sangria.

Keep a few things in mind next time you feel the crunch of the economy bearing down on you…

  • understand that while there is nothing wrong with being rich, it is always right to make conscious, wise decisions to live within my financial means.
  • save a set amount of money in a separate savings account, develop reasonable financial goals and invest my money wisely
  • appreciate coupons, rebates and other financial incentives that will soften my budget
  • not give into materialistic consumerism and shopaholism
  • treat myself once in a while and know I deserve it.
  • pay for everything I can with cash and save for the things I can’t
  • get in touch with my inner Scrooge and not let budget be a dirty word

Especially with the quadruple-threat holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s) coming soon, money spending on the extra niceties (even just the niceties) will be difficult to do.

But don’t worry, I’m looking out for my readers. Occasionally, The Writerbabe Series will post some interesting money saving ideas and tips that especially come in handy, this is particularly target to those with champagne taste on a free water budget.

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spiralMy weekend’s may look a little less fun nowadays.

As I type this, I’ve been doing some personal research on the state of the American economy (actually, who hasn’t?). More specifically, how the economy is affecting my ability to have good time (and best of all –FREE!).

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a native Chicagoan and a brand new homeowner. I have to be more than conscientious about my spending habits. A girl wants more for her dollar nowadays, (if she can get it.). Gone are the carefree Tazo tea moments –  hello home-brewed Celestial Seasons. That’s why it’s all the more important to invest my time in any social outreach or arts programming that my city provides.

Places like the Chicago Cultural Center, the Illinois Humanities Council, the Humanities Festival are guaranteed to feed my brain – I could go on. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where I attend discussions about human rights and genocide or hear FREE music from klesmer bands, check out shows from progressive dance artists – alright, it’s obvious that Chicago is a mecca for culture lovers. But, don’t be too hard on me for bragging.

But, Lehman Brothers is ruining my weekend.

You wouldn’t really think that a soon-to-be defunct bankrupt investment bank is screwing with my opportunity to have fun (ok, I’m not really that into klesmer, but that’s not the point).

Failing investment banks, credit crunches, foreclosures – these financial debacles spider into everyday life a lot deeper (and harder) than most people would think. Shrinking endowments (which are linked to bonds, stocks , etc. from the failing I-Banks) interfere with NPO operating costs.

This means more staff cuts. The dollar is weaker than ever (although, some experts claim the dollar is now gaining strength), so paying travel costs for bands abroad or foreign speakers is a lot more expensive than it used to be.  

Charitable donations are the first things to get cut in a market’s financial downturn. Even more specifically, the shrinking dividends in Daddy Warbucks’ financial portfolio directly affect if the programs and fundraising events that your (favorite) local NPOs create will have a budget for the coming year.

Americans as a whole are losing trust in big institutions – can you blame them? If they haven’t already, Americans are raiding what’s left of their 401(k)s and spending it or hiding it to under a mattress.

The current economic crisis affects everything: good and bad. Unfortunately, the only real question is: where does it stop?

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