Introduction to the Community
Community. Alone, as simply a single word, what does it mean? As it turns out, the word’s definition is varied: your neighborhood, family, gathering of like minded people, a group devoted to a single purpose working in concert. For us, it means all of these things, as it might to others. But it is the last definition that is the organizing principle under which we have started this endeavor.
Community: a group of people making common cause. It could be any cause, really. Our cause is to provide assistance to those who are in need. Anyone in need. The world is filled with people just like you and us, except they need help. Pride is a powerful thing, and prevents those truly in need from seeking that help. Pride is a barrier. Charity and handouts: we all know people who refuse help because these words and the concept they embody has a negative connotation that lurks behind what should otherwise be a noble thing.
There is another problem: those sidelined by life are often out of sight and out of mind. We see them on the street everyday, walking past us. But we do not actually see them. We certainly do know them or understand the pain they are living with on a daily basis. The marginalized, the isolated and the forgotten, the walking wounded who move amongst us.
But the men and women who make Xyphein what it is have asked ourselves two fundamental questions: why and how? Why aren’t these people recognized and how do we help? After much thought and research we realized that the answer to the first question reallycame down to resources, or the lack thereof. There are many charitable organizations devoted to making the lives of our citizens, and peoples across the world, better. They exist, but are constrained in what they are able to do by a lack of resources: outreach coordinators, support staff and supplies that would provide the vital services to people whose cause these charities would gladly serve. If they only could. The desire, will, and drive to change the world is there, it’s just a matter of unleashing their potential. The sad fact of life, though, is that much of what we may do comes down to money.
Now the how: how do we as a small business empower the those whose passion to help provide that help? We volunteer, give to charities, work in food lines and have our pet projects. But our efforts alone really don’t add up to much. At this point, you may be expecting a pitch. We’ve all heard one. We sat down and tried to come up with a motto or a slogan, a scripted paragraph or two to convince you to offer your help. In the end, though, we’d only be asking for money. It all sounded so shallow everything we wrote, every idea, would up in the conference room trash can.
So what do we say? First, before you decide to offer money, think about offering direct action: offer your time, efforts and compassion. Sit down and find a cause you think is worthy and call them up. Chances are, they would gladly have you. If they only ask for money, though, you are right to take pause. If you want to engage in direct action, your time and sweat are worth more than money. Find another organization, there will usually be more than one serving the cause that stokes your passion.
But now we come to a basic fact of life: the desire is there, the empathy is present but life intrudes. We are all busy, we all have our lives to lead. Family, jobs, school and/or children to raise, it all adds up. Thus we ask ourselves “Whre will I find the time?” It’s a valid question, there are only 24 hours in a day after all. To ask it is not a moral failure for charity must often begin at home.
So it becomes a thorny problem. Do we make people feel guilty because they don’t have the resources or the energy to work tirelessly for a cause in which they believe. No, because that isn’t fair. In fact, it is counter-productive. America is one of the most charitable nations on Earth so we know that people care. The inability or lack of knowledge to actively serve is often the barrier to acting. There are so many in need it can all feel so overwhelming. And frankly, we all need fun in our lives as well. Fun, simple fun. As children we innately knew this, but as we grow into adulthood, this increasingly becomes an after thought.
So we at Xyphein sat and brainstormed. How do help and entertain at the same time, providing everyone with something that is important to the well being of all? We think we’ve come up with a way to do this. You are, in fact, at the place we decided would do both.
Something else: when it comes to charitable giving, one size does not fit all. You care about those who have served and fallen on the field of battle, while your neighbor cares about the persecution of the LGBQT community (there is that word again!) and others care about the plight of animals held in cages in shelters who face euthanasia. We know this because we conducted a poll in our own office and found out that no single person gave to the same charity. It surprised us the diversity in those causes we all found important enough to serve. During this simple exercise it became apparent that some of our passions might seem, on the surface, diametrically opposed. But someone said something very profound: if we focused on the what we would most certainly forget about they why. We all give for various reasons. The only thing that really mattered is that we give.
Now, another thorny issue, namely is the charity really a charity or a way for a couple of people to cut themselves a large paycheck and travel the world while oh so generously passing on a whole 5 cents for every dollar donated? That is a major consideration, sadly it happens too often. Luckily, all charitable organizations and non-profits must make their finances available to the public. Where do you find it though? The good news is that you don’t have to, we know how to find this information. We’ll tell you where, but will always do our own research.
This is a long post, so let’s tie this all together. Maybe this is a pitch, after all. Hmmmm. In short, we provide a fun way to give to the charity of your choice. We are affiliated with a number of charities, and are always seeking out others to work with. We do our research and we will not work with any charity that does not pass on [what is a good percentage?] x% of every dollar donated to those they serve. Ever. And, we encourage your input: have a charity in mind that you do not see listed? Let us know, and we’ll vet the organization and provide you with a report stating why we feel it should not be listed, or we list it and thank you directly on the Website. Of course, you need to know our finances as well, so we aim to be fully transparent. Your trust in us is as important a consideration as anything else.
Remember community? We want to partner not only with charities, we want to partner with you and become a community of people who care, and hopefully have a little fun along the way. This is our modest contribution, we hape you like it. Your input is always encouraged. Can we do better, let us know. Love something we provide? Tell us that too. Want to recognize someone in our community for their service? Nominate them for the monthly awards we will be handing out.
Oh, and we did decide on a corny motto: “Let’s do some good”. We heard it in one of our favorite movies. A free ticket to the first 20 people who can tell us the name of the movie. A little trivia is never a bad thing.