|Could this be Metro's fate?|
Donors and funders across Metro are reeling from an urgent request by the Community Trust for $1 Billion in donations to keep local social service programs operating.
The Trust launched an emergency fundraising campaign last Tuesday when it sent a letter to government and foundation funders as well as key donors for an urgent infusion of $1 Billion to continue urgently needed social programs. “The demand for our programs is such that we need an immediate increase in our program spending by $1 Billion,” the letter said.
The Metro United Way immediately announced that it would be seeking bankruptcy protection and laid off half or its staff. The United Way has an emergency funding agreement with the Trust that would match any emergency funding requests made to government. United Way CEO Spooley Snidely said they had no choice but to pull the plug on their entire operation once they got the letter asking for $1 Billion.
“We took one look at their letter and one look at our bank account and we realized that our $25 million operation would take decades to make that happen. Most of us are near retirement and we wanted to spend the golden years of our careers golfing. So most of the senior managers retired and we closed up shop,” she said.
The City government followed the United Way announcement by declaring Metro a disaster area and asking for Federal funds. Mayor Dibble Brewer held a news conference on the steps of City Hall shortly after receiving the letter.
“Citizens should not panic. We realize that a billion dollar shortfall in key services is a major challenge, but the City is ready to respond. The police and fire departments are on alert to protect against looting and the Governor has promised to send National Guard troops. A FEMA task force has been formed and has already bought up all the mobile home trailers in the Metro area,” he said.
“Wherever you are, go home, lock the door, load your gun and await further instructions,” said the Mayor. In a few short minutes, Metro’s entire business district was empty of people.
Meantime, major Trust donors have pledged their support to the urgent billion dollar campaign. Noted philanthropists Henry and Judith Moneybags pledged more than $1 million to the Trust last year.
“When we got the letter from the Trust that they needed $1 Billion, we were moved. I immediately said to Henry that we should do something,” said Judith. “So we cashed in our stock portfolio, all our possessions and our entire life savings. We came up with roughly $7 million. It’s not much, but it’s the best we can do.”
The Trust offices were flooded by children bringing in spare change to help. Many businesses turned in cash they had collected from customers and employees. Metro’s ten banks said they would be donating as much as they could to meet the crisis and sent over 27 armored cars full of money. Metro hospital reported that one patient had placed one of his healthy kidneys up for auction on eBay in order to raise money for the Trust. The Kidney eventually sold for $576,000 and was removed an hour later by doctors and sent to the winner.
Trust officials were shocked by the outpouring of generosity. By mid-afternoon, they had so much cash laying around their offices they couldn’t see over the top off the reception desk. CEO Shelia Hairdoo told the crowd of donors, citizens, police and National Guardsmen they are grateful.
“Uh, I think we…uhm. Well, to tell the truth, we sort of uh… Well, Chris, our proposal writer has a bad habit of not checking her work. And I usually don’t read the stuff we put into proposals, you know? There’s a big difference between $1 million and $1 Billion, but on a keyboard it’s just one different key. I mean, the ‘M’ is just two keys away from the ‘B’. So, while we’re very grateful, we don’t really need all this….well, we do need it, actually, but what I’m trying to say is…” Hairdoo began before police evacuated the building and locked down the entire area. Martial law was declared a few minutes later. A dusk to dawn curfew is in place.