A Travellerspoint blog

USA

Is Anybody Out There?

As Isa enters the TP Auditorium to welcome everyone and to present the next installment of the Our Two Cents Worth... Foundation blog, she trips on the stairs... "How very odd", she thinks to herself, "The auditorium is dark and there seems to be no one in the audience. Did I get the date wrong and it's really Cheap Trashy Horror Night at the TP Movies?" Isa leaves to find the light switches then quickly returns to the stage to wait for awhile.

Suddenly, the entrance door opens and a head peaks in. "Are we in the right place for the TP Foundation presentation?" "YES! Contestants, ermmm, I mean members, come on down!" replies Isa (sounding a bit like Bob Barker on the Price Is Right morning game show). Slowly the members file in and find their seats. "Alrighty, let's get this party started, shall we?!" With that, Isa begins the presentation...

Once again, I welcome everyone to the monthly installment of the TP Foundation's blog. I have good news and I have bad news. Which would you like first? (A call for bad news first echoes through the auditorium.) Okay, bad news first, it is. Always a good choice - get it over with and then move on. I like your thinking! The bad news: Our membership has remained unchanged since April. Where is everybody? Hello... Can anybody hear me?? This is a great cause, people! I don't mean to be pushy but... (With that, Isa now decides she better rephrase her comments and find a way to bring more members into the Foundation's fold. So, here goes...)

I have been trying to come up with creative ways to entice more members to participate in the Foundation program without violating the Terms & Conditions of both AdSense and TP itself. Unlike the Photo Competitions, we can't offer hotel accommodation vouchers nor travel logs nor even upgraded photo space. Frequent flier miles would have been an option had the airlines been cooperative - they weren't. So, given those "can not do" items, what can I do? I need some input from you. To help out, here is a short list of what we (again) can not do:

    • Contests - nope - out of the question.
    • Advertisements on every page - nope.
    • Mass PMs/e-mails - nope.
    • Holding members for ransom - nope again.
    • Giving the Overlords lots of code to write - good luck with that.
    • Threatening to break TP - been there, done that to no avail.

If anyone has suggestions that do not go against the (AdSense/TP) T&Cs or the list of "nope" things, please contact me via PM or at foundation@travellerspoint.org. I have contacted Bono and Eric Clapton about a benefit concert (they owe me some favors) but it seems they are incognito at the moment. Go fig...

For those of you who are new to the foundation blog and would like more information about it's workings, please see the In For A Penny, In For A Pound and For What It's Worth... entries. Also check out the Travellerspoint Foundation wiki page and the Join the Travellerspoint Foundation thread.

Oooohhh, almost forgot the good news!!! As of right this minute, we have $89.16 in the Foundation account. We are so close to our first $100.00 goal!!!! Rather like the Timex watch that just keeps on tickin', hopefully, our members will just keep on clickin'!

So, I now leave you with our entertainment for this evening... Please give a round of applause for the Derek Trucks Band performing I Wish I Knew!!!!!!! (And, that's just my two cents worth...)

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
I wish I could see everything I had to see
Sing it loud, sing it clear, for the whole round world to hear

I wish I could share all the love that's in my heart
Remove all the bars that keep us apart
I wish you knew how it would feel to be me
Then you'd see, and agree, everyone should be free

I wish I could give all I'm longing to give
I wish I could live like I'm longing to live
I wish I could do everything that I could do
Though I'm way overdue, I'd be starting anew

I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be if I found I could fly
I'd soar to the sun and look down at the sea
And I'd sing 'cause I know
I sing because I know
I sing because I know
I sing because I know everyone should be free

Guess what? It's graph time!!!!

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Posted by Foundation 11:17 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

For What It's Worth...

Welcome to the second installment of Our Two Cents Worth... We thank all of you who have joined the Foundation and those who are revisiting the blog for the monthly update. (A roar of cheers and applause are heard throughout the website... YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I will try not to pontificate too long but you see how well that worked back in March. Anyway, there are some important issues to cover so I will get straight to the point. Really. Starting right now.

I realize everyone who has already joined the Foundation, and those considering the option, are curious about the timeline between "now" and the Foundation's first loans to Kiva's Entrepreneurs. Honestly, there is no "clear-cut" answer to that question. Wait! Don't go away yet - I can explain.

    • The Google Adsense program, for the US, has a $100 threshold for automatic bank transfers. (Meaning - the account has to reach $100 before they release the funds for automatic transfer.) Presently, we're sitting at $55.65 so just a few more clicks and we're there.
    • When the threshold has been reached, Google audits the funds prior to release. This can take up to 30 days. (Hey, it could be less - we'll find out.)
    • Following the release of funds, there is a short transfer period before the funds are received by Kiva and distributed to the chosen Entrepreneurs.

Though "our" world may be filled with instant gratifications, those receiving our contributions have rarely known such a luxury. And, as much I wish I could snap my fingers so we could make those loans more quickly, I can't. So, please have patience with the process. We will do good in the world. Promise.

Oh, one last comment on the $100 threshold and auto banks transfers... Yes, the Foundation could have opted for receiving "hold-in-your-hand-made-of-real-paper checks for smaller amounts, which may have hastened the first loans. Ultimately, the checks would have to clear (taking 7-10 days) before the money could be transferred to Kiva. Also, I did not want to be the one to break the news that a check had been lost in the mail. The thought of being tarred and feathered or hung by the yardarm was not very appealing. (Cocktails at sunset - yes, hung by the yardarm - I'll pass.)

Okay - now that you've gotten the "bad" news, I do have good news!

    • Kiva has granted permission for TP to use the photos of the recipient Entrepreneurs in creating a "money trail". That's all I'm going to say about it at the moment but it should prove to be pretty cool visually. (See, something to look forward to, right?!)
    • Both the blog and the AdSense account have been "connected" with Google Analytics so we should get some pretty groovy graphs as time goes on. Also, the blog has been connected with Feedburner so someone - ANYONE - subscribe to the blog! Please. I'm on my hands and knees, begging! (I'm wearing kneepads so I can wait. Oh, now that just sounds wrong... Just the same - subscribe or I'll send out the TP Pirates to find you...)
    • I know there was something else but until I think of it...

I leave you with tonight's performer who is none other than the illustrious James Taylor. So... Hit it Sweet Baby James!

When you're down and troubled
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights...

Again, a very large THANK YOU to all who have joined the cause and that's just my two cents worth....

(Hope you all enjoyed the music and for more information, check out the Travellerspoint Foundation wiki page and the Join the Travellerspoint Foundation thread.)

Oooohhhh - almost forgot the pretty graphs of April's activities... Can't have that now can we?!

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Posted by Foundation 12:12 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

In For A Penny - In For A Pound

First, let me say hello and welcome all of you to the Our Two Cents Worth... blog. For those of you who have found your way here through the Travellerspoint Foundation wiki page and/or program announcement thread then you know what the project is all about. For those of you who haven't... Surprise! We want your money! Well, basically, we want your AdSense money. I know that's enough to make some run for the hills (so to speak) but please "hear" me out before fleeing too far. (I promise not to bore you for too long, honest.)

My name is Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (aka TP's Isadora). Some of you may know me because I am also one of the TP Resident Janitors (Moderators). Recently - okay, it was February 12th to be exact - I was asked if I would be willing to help with the creation of the Travellerspoint Foundation. Upon reading the project's proposal, it was a no-brainer and my answer was a resounding yes. So, here we are launching the Travellerspoint Foundation Give Us Your Money Good Will All Around The World Project.

In a nutshell... The project, if you choose this assignment, is this:

    • You donate your AdSense earnings to the Travellerspoint Foundation.
    • The TP Foundation will use that money for loans to Kiva entrepreneurs.
    • Repaid loans plus all the new deposits will be "recycled" into new loans.

Now, this is where they are letting me say a few things about the Kiva Organization. Kiva's Mission Statement: "To Connect People Through Lending For The Sake Of Alleviating Poverty." It's a very simple concept that works. Through Kiva, individuals and teams (like the Travellerspoint Team which the Foundation will be a member of) are able to make small loans to entrepreneurs (small business owners, individuals, coops, etc.) around the world. Working with their partners, expert microfinancing institutions, the organization sets up a repayment schedule and disperses the money to the recipients. These recipients are people/groups whom we, the lenders, have chosen from the numerous profiles found on the Kiva website. Repayment periods are usually 6-12 months in length and the repaid money is available for use in the form of new loans at that time. Requested loan amounts range from $500-5000USD and it can take several contributors (like us) to reach that total for one recipient. By becoming a member of the Travellerspoint Foundation Project, all of those AdSense cents we earn will add up and help others across the globe to look poverty in the eye and say "Hey, I just kicked your ass with a little help from some new friends". Please, check out the Kiva Organization for more information on who they are and what they do. Then, come on back, sign up and let's make some loans!

The current plan is that during the early stages of this project the entrepreneurs will be chosen from the Kiva Travellerspoint Team's already existing group of recipients (given that they have not received 100% or their financing at that time). For more information about the Travellerspoint Team on Kiva, please click here. I am of the belief that, as the TP Foundation contributions grow, (at least) one high-risk loan should be made periodically. It's nice to play it safe but being a global (online) community, we can show that everyone deserves a chance to succeed. As needed, the Foundation will decide when new recipients need to be added to the pool to keep the loans flowing.

If you want to dive straight in and switch your Adsense earnings over the TP foundation, here's how you do so:

  • Go to your profile page.
  • At the very bottom of the page, where you can put in your Adsense Publisher ID (note: this is only available to members who have achieved Full Member status), put in the TP foundation ID: 1326685919872860

So, there are the basics of the project and for those of you who have not checked out the wiki page and introductory thread, go now! Hurry! Okay, finish reading this and then go. This blog has been created to give everyone updates on the TP Foundation, contributions, recipients, paybacks, statistics, pretty graphs and anything else we feel like adding to it. If you have suggestions and/or comments, please contact us at foundation@travellerspoint.org.

Hey Animaniacs - it time to sing!!! (You know them - Yakko, Wakko & Dot.)
It's a great big universe
And we're all really puny
We're just tiny little specks
About the size of Mickey Rooney.
It's big and black and inky
And we are small and dinky
It's a big universe and we're not.

Thank you for reading all the way to here and that's just my (oops, I mean our) two cents worth.....

See you soon with more updates!!

G.

ps: Here are a couple of pretty graphs to show what 1 then 2 then 3 and finally 4 contributors have earned since March 7, 2009.

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The starting balance was my paltry earnings of $13.50. Peter began adding on March 7th, Sam I Am on March 16th and Dr. Pepper bringing up the rear on March 17th. The March 31st graph end points were charted at 2:00pm CDT and the day ain't over yet. Thank you kind Overlords!!!

Just a quick update as the day (March 31st) is now over - the balance in the account was $25.28 - enough to make one loan. :)

Posted by Foundation 13:47 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (4)

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