Man, do I love a happy ending …
Back in September Robert Solomon, a well known Newton activist, launched a fundraising campaign to raise money to purchase a wheel chair enabled van to enable him to resume working and teaching.
Many of you Village 14 readers and other Newton residents stepped up and pitched in to his campaign. After a few months he had raised thousands of $$ but he still had a long way to go. A few months ago he decided to try a new approach and see if he could parlay those contributions from all of you into raising the rest of the money he needed.
Here’s Roberts story:
Back in November, two months into my GoFundMe campaign for transportation independence, when it became apparent I would be competing for social media mindset with, well, let’s just say, an intense political issue, I decided to supplement my fundraising efforts with writing to a number of family funds and foundations.
Of the 18 foundations I wrote to, most responded they only grant funds to 501(c)3 non-profits. However, late in December, one organization – Letters Foundation – promoted me to the second round, requesting a number of financial documents and references. You may recall seeing an article last July in the Boston Globe reporting that Doris Buffett, Warren’s sister, moved to Boston, and set up Letters Foundation to give away her brother’s money through the Sunshine Lady Humanitarian Grants Program.*
In mid-January, I was interviewed for more than an hour by phone by a representative of the Sunshine Lady Grants Program. I made it to the third round! This was when reality stopped, and so did my sleeping!
Two Fridays ago – probably the coldest day we’ve had this winter – while riding my wheelchair home after several hours of errands, nearly frostbit despite wool long underwear, wool socks, wool hat, and wool gloves, my cell phone rang. I did not want to remove my gloves to answer it. Yet something told me it was important.
It was the representative from the Sunshine Lady Humanitarian Program. I was prepared for the worst – I certainly wasn’t prepared for what transpired: “Mr. Solomon, the Letters Foundation has decided to fund the rest of the cost of your van.” And she went on to speak for 7 minutes before I had the guts to ask if I could call her back from someplace inside – you know, I was afraid if I asked something silly like that, they may change their mind!
While the Honda dealer delivered my Odyssey last week, I can’t drive it yet. With the financial support Mass Rehab provides, the van will be shipped to Indiana in a a couple of weeks, where the floor will be lowered to accommodate the ramp system. Then it will be shipped back to Boston, and a conversion company will install the adaptive assisted equipment. After several days of on-the-road training, then a road test at the RMV, it’s projected I’ll be driving by mid-April!
I am now shutting down my GoFundMe campaign, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all once again, from the bottom of my heart, for believing in my story and in my determination to reach my goal. With your generous donations, this unbelievable ending represents the beginning of the next chapter of my life.
Soon able to self-transport, the opportunity now exists to expand my search for adjunct professor positions, and to promote my lecture series to colleges and other organizations throughout New England. By the way, if you have an interest in mid-twentieth century American art history, I hope you’ll join me at one of my already booked lectures: March 30 at Brookline Adult Education; May 17 at Newton Community Education; and April 24-June 5 (six classes) at NCE’s Lifetime Learning. Each program’s spring catalog will be posted soon.
Once again, thank you all for your support in this, the most important endeavor to make of this half of my life possible.