The Contest 2011: Origin Story
Towards the beginning of Davis Guggenheim's fantastic, bleak, motivating Waiting for Superman, Geoffrey Canada tells a story about…well, waiting for Superman, and how bereft he felt as a child when his mother had to inform him finally that Superman doesn't exist, and would never come.
The film generally posits that everyone in this country's public-school system is waiting — waiting for the teachers' union to figure itself out, waiting for charter-school lottery results, waiting for budget figures that inevitably shrink. Waiting to get rescued.
Wait over, super-friends.
No, Superman isn't coming. He isn't coming because he's already here. The superhero we need here is you. The red planet that invested you with great powers here on Earth is…you. The Tomato Nation.
Maybe you don't have X-ray vision and you can't lift a car with one hand. (Well, maybe you could lift my car with one hand. Heh.) You don't need to. You just need a few bucks, and a few friends with a few bucks. You just need to let students and teachers know that somebody's coming to rescue them, that they shouldn't give up.
All right, Legion of Awesome. What's next?
Our goal for the month is $250,000. It's a lot of money. However, you knocked off three hundred grand last time. You can lift that car — that armored car, full of money.
When we hit that goal, what will I do? Superheroes come to the rescue, no? So, I'll do that. I'll come rescue one lucky winner — in beverage form! Pick your poison, and I'll hop in the Tomatomobile and deliver your frosty beer/foamy half-caf/Cherry Coke Zero to you personally, dressed in the tomato outfit. If I can drive there, it's on. I realize it's bonkers, but it's that or bungee-jump, and: nope. I'd rather shave my head again. Using bees.
How on earth to make a quarter of a million dollars? A few suggestions:
1) If you'd like, you can form your own Giving Page and attach it to the Tomato Nation leaderboard. Pick projects you like, and organize them however you want — all poetry, all Mississippi, all over the damn place. Email Anna at anna at donorschoose dot org when it's all set up, and she'll put it on the leaderboard. You and your GP could win extra funds and prizes.
2) You can also donate to the Tomato Nation Superpage, which is right here, or to other people's Giving Pages. Don't have much money? Good news — you don't need "much." If everyone here can spare a buck or two, we can get it done. Go through the couch for change. Build a Jump Rope For Heart-like drive — get friends to pledge a buck for every new Twitter follower, or mile you run, or spring-cleaning chore you finish. Skip your afternoon latte for one week, or cook instead of getting takeout a couple times. Downgrade your Netflix for a month. Get regular gas next time. You don't have to donate a lot of money to help (or to win prizes). That finsky you forgot in your other jeans will do nicely.
3) Tell everyone you know. EVERYONE. Facebook. Twitter. Your book club. The carpool. Your OB. The UPS guy. You haven't raised all the money you have because I did kooky things, although people seem to enjoy it so why quit now. You've done it because a) you're awesome, and b) DonorsChoose.org makes it really easy and exciting to make a difference right away. If you can get two or three people to look at the site for the first time and get sucked in, that's huge.
The tom-Bat-o signal hits the sky at 12:01 ET tonight. Schoolopolis is counting on you. Be mighty.
Tags: Davis Guggenheim Geoffrey Canada you can't spell "readers" without "rad"