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Benj and Jessica launched a nonprofit. Follow our journey as we built a 501(c)(3) and a web site, and now usher in an endless stream of worthy charity nominees and monthly grant winners!

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Charitocracy rides off into the sunset

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Charitocracy rides off into the sunset
Turns out they were waving goodbye this whole time!

2023 is the final season of Charitocracy! There are 12 monthly pots yet to grant. Let's make them count!

I'll try to keep the sentimentality out of it for now, given there's still almost a whole year left to go. This decision comes after weeks of personal contemplation over the holidays and discussion with Jessica and the rest of our board of directors. It wasn't an easy decision. Charitocracy has been a huge part of my identity for the past 7+ years! But I think it's the right decision for me right now.

I'll cover the How first, then the Why. But feel free to follow up with me directly if you have more questions. I remain an open book, and ever at your service. ❤️

How

  • New donations, sign-ups, gift purchases, etc. are now disabled. We're going out on top with over 400 donors across Charitocracy USA and OBX!
  • All recurring donations after January 31 will be automatically cancelled. No action is required on your part. This way every donor gets at least the 12 months of grant voting they bargained for!
  • Current donors are encouraged to continue voting on through the last vote on New Year's Eve 2023. Even if your Charitocracy anniversary, the day your annual donation would ordinarily be collected, comes mid-year, you won't suddenly lose your voting privileges.
  • Charitocracy's remaining cash reserves will be distributed into 2023's 12 monthly USA & OBX grant pots. Each successive pot will be bigger than the previous one as we gain more confidence we can meet our final expenses with smaller cash reserves. Our final "season" of grants should be bigger than ever as we "zero out" our remaining funds!

Why

  • There's been angst surrounding some of the more polarizing nominees at Charitocracy USA. For some folks, Charitocracy hasn't represented a positive force in their lives lately, either because they don't agree with the winners or due to some negative interactions online. Believe me, I can relate! And that goes for causes across the political spectrum, both ones that have and have not yet won a monthly grant. I never wanted to create something that could hurt people or cause hard feelings, so that aspect has been a bummer.
  • Meanwhile, I've spent more time than ever in the past few months fighting hackers. Rest assured, Charitocracy has never been breached, nor do we store any of your credit card information in the first place. (Our credit card processor, Stripe, takes care of that.) But what the hackers do like to do, for whatever reason, is to attack web sites and try to knock them offline. On several occasions I've had to interrupt trips or family time to literally fight bot armies (thousands of hijacked computers) flooding Charitocracy from all corners of the world with traffic, known as DDOS: Distributed Denial of Service. And the other thing they like to do is test lists of stolen credit cards by attempting to make donations from them. They automate it so I'll suddenly start getting a donation attempt every 5 seconds. Usually Stripe's fraud detection flags their attempts and reject them, but occasionally some get through. Then I have to refund the donations and eat the credit card processing fees. It's a nice adrenalin rush when it happens, but never a good time.
  • Finally, and perhaps most critically, is that I don't see a clear future for Charitocracy. The prospect of setting up Charitocracy's own endowment fund really brought into focus the fact that if I get hit by a bus, there's no one to take over, and there's no one to even gracefully shut it down. So it would be irresponsible to try to raise money for an uncertain future. While I've always run Charitocracy as lean as possible, with pride in our low overhead, the truth is that my volunteered skill set is actually a bit expensive... to replace. Not to mention I'm effectively on-call 24/7 for years on end with no good way to share that responsibility.

So let's go out there and make Charitocracy's 7th full year not only our last, but also our best! Thank you for the privilege it has been to pool your resources and make a difference in the world. I've had a blast!

Sunset through a Heart
Both images above generated via artificial intelligence using DiffusionBee on Mac. Fun!

December 2022 winner Community Care Clinic of Dare

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Charitocracy OBX's 27th check to December winner Community Care Clinic of Dare for $542

We have good news about December winner Community Care Clinic of Dare, right after this quick update...

What a long strange trip it's been

I've taken this holiday season to reflect on Charitocracy's place in my life. As I crank the wheel again, and another winner is selected, another blog post written, another grant check mailed, it's hard to grasp that we've done this over 100 times now, across Charitocracy USA and Charitocracy OBX. This is a perfect moment to extend my gratitude to each and every one of you who's nominated a cause, cast a vote, and/or generously contributed to our grants. I see you. How about we go another year, shall we?

December 2022 winner Community Care Clinic of Dare

At midnight last night we named Charitocracy OBX's 27th monthly winner! Congratulations to Community Care Clinic of Dare nominated by donor lleiser. They provide basic healthcare, medication assistance, and wellness education for uninsured persons in Dare County. You can find their website here.

Now you have a week to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to CCCD next week. And check out this excellent explanation of the services CCCD offers and the role they fill in the community. Then take a moment to feel good about your part in our collective $542+ grant to help with their ongoing work!

Have a great January, and all of 2023, and be sure to log into Charitocracy OBX to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

November 2022 winner Coastal Humane Society

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Charitocracy OBX's 26th check to November winner Coastal Humane Society for $538

We have good news about November winner Coastal Humane Society, right after this quick update...

The Giving Season

Warm wishes to you from Charitocracy this holiday season, and I hope you are able to find some peaceful moments to contemplate all the good you've done this year, not least of which through your donations and influence here. We are making a difference in people's lives, and it feels great. So if it comes up in conversation while gathered with family and friends, tell a loved one about Charitocracy. The more the merrier!

November 2022 winner Coastal Humane Society

At midnight last night we named Charitocracy OBX's 26th monthly winner! Congratulations to Coastal Humane Society nominated by donor bjstager. They ensure all Outer Banks pets are healthy and that no owner is forced to give up a pet because of financial hardship. You can find their website here.

Now you have a week to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to CHS next week. And check out this video from last December about pet photos with Santa and other festive pet activities and fundraisers! Then take a moment to feel good about your part in our collective $538+ grant to help with their ongoing work!

Have a great December and be sure to log into Charitocracy OBX to update your votes or nominate a new cause! And consider investing in our future by growing our endowment with a switch to one of our new donation bundles, or customizing your own perfect new bundle. It's super quick and easy!