Give a homeless man on the street corner or take them out to lunch, congratulations, you’re a philanthropist. Eating finger-food with toes, congratulations, you’re bizarre. If you hold a public “Eating finger-food with your feet” contest where the box office profit goes towards feeding homeless people, you’re a little bit odd.
People will generally do anything to make a buck, but when it goes towards helping your fellow man, the crazy things we do just might be justified. Here is the Top 10 oddest, but sometimes effective means money has been made for causes worthy of it.
10. Bras/Panties/Underwear for Charity
Relatively common in media-centric cities is the practice of auctioning off one’s unmentionables so that the sale money can go towards philanthropy. Celebrities such as Lost’s Evangeline Lilly have done this, and while most people who donate don’t disclose whether they’ve actually worn the auctioned item, there are undoubtedly many people who would pay a healthy sum just to hold a pair of panties that Evangeline Lilly even touched.
9. Joe the Plumber’s “Secure Our Dream”
Anyone who paid attention to the 2008 American presidential elections knows who Joe Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the Plumber” is, but some may not know that this convenient pal of John McCain has started his own charity since the election ended. What some also don’t know is exactly what Joe the Plumber’s “Secure Our Dream” actually does, and as Joe told the Toledo Blade the purpose of his charity was “for all sorts of charities and causes for fellow Americans,” Joe may not know, either. The Secure Our Dream website at secureourdream.org is filled with opportunities to read on Joe’s public appearances, understand some of his political views, and buy his newest book. Still not too much mention of what his charity does, though.
8. ISPCA Dog Sledding
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has decided to take a slightly uncouth approach to raising money for its pro-animal cause: allowing dogs to be whipped and run to the point of exhaustion in the freezing Norway weather by hosting a 60km dog sledding race scheduled to take place in 2010. The Alliance of Animal Rights as well as several online animal rights groups have responded in near outrage to the race while those who defend the ISCPA’s stance point out that dog sledding does not constitute animal abuse. Animalperson.com may’ve had the best opinion on the situation when one of their representatives stated “If you want to help huskies, and I assume the Irish SPCA does, adopt one from a shelter, give him a loving home and plenty of stimulation and opportunities to exercise. Using a dog for your own gain–or to raise money for other dogs–is bizarre conceptually.”
7. Welfare Group Disabled and Sexuality
Why just rouse the spirits of the physically disabled when you can rouse…other things. The Swedish-based Welfare Group Disabled and Sexuality, also known as FAB in Swedish, arranges services such as “erotic massage” for the physically disabled for the around 65 Swedish dollars. FAB became noteworthy in 2006 when they decided to expand their services by providing full intercourse. The Swedish government doesn’t just allow this charity to exist, the majority of FABS funding comes from a Swedish government grant in addition to charity donations.
Even FAB’s critics are hard-pressed to find an argument against this form of prostitution, as psychologist Peter Wehrli told a Swiss online publication “I have nothing against prostitution as long as it is between two consenting adults.”
6. Eddie’s Kids
As stated on eddiekids.org, Eddie’s Kids is a “charitable trust that gives kids the opportunity to connect with their families and take part in something as exciting as live sports events.” Through ticket and cash donations, Eddie’s Kids is able to reward academically and civically responsible children with a single remarkable night at fantastic sporting event, sometimes the sporting event of their choice. What’s so bizarre about this?
The founder of Eddie’s Kids, Eddie Wedelstedt, is also one of the top producers of pornography films in the US.
For obvious reasons, there isn’t too much mentioned about Wedelstedt’s occupation on his website, but Wedelstedt and his company Goalie Entertainment were indicted in 2005 on obscenity charges and tax evasion. However, no charges of fraud were ever placed against the Eddie’s Kids charity and it is still endorsed by both athletes and Colorado law enforcement.
5. Business Executives for National Security
This couldn’t possibly be a way subtle way of soliciting the American top 5% for military and intelligence dollars. “BENS members use their business experience to drive our agenda, deliver our message to decision makers, and make certain that the changes we propose are put into practice. BENS has only one special interest: to help make America safe and secure.”
It’s hard not to consider BENS a special interest group given the basis of some of their events. Some of the BENS-sponsored events include dinners with senators and other politicians as well as tours of prominent government locales, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters. BENS unquestionably provides a valuable service to national security as they’ve been associated with disaster assistance, prevention of cyber crime, and helping wounded Iraq/Afghanistan veterans transition to civilian life. Why not petition the wealthy for the money; they can donate more, and there is no human venture more expensive than war.
4. Marijuana Policy Project Foundation
If there was ever a charity that you WOULDN’T want to claim on your taxes, this would probably be the one. The MPP is a well-funded though non-profit organization that among many things, seeks to provide the public facts about marijuana rather than PSA-propagated myths, lobbying for legislation protecting the right to use medicinal marijuana, and “lobbying Congress to reduce the White House drug czar’s budget for his deceptive ad campaigns.”
The MPP is possibly the best-known of all the charities on this list, as celebrities such as Montel Williams, Kurt Loder, Michelle Phillips, and John Stossel have publically supported and funded MPP’s cause. The Marijuana Policy Project Foundation also stays rather active, having led the charge to decriminalize marijuana in Nevada on at least three different occasions through 2002 and 2008, with another planned petition in 2010.
One wagers that MPP has a very interesting lab research team.
3. The Naked Clowns
The dress code of these multiple sclerosis research fundraisers has been very lax; the hosts have taken to wearing birthday suits. With a goal of raising $1,000,000 for donation to the cause of finding a cure for MS, the Naked Clowns have been performing across America from 2008-2009, and for each member of the Naked Clowns troupe, the disease of multiple sclerosis hits home because of one common link: their beloved role model.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1980’s Judy Finelli established herself as a masterful juggler and performer, making appearances everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Sesame Street. In 1984, Judy Finelli founded the prominent San Francisco School for Circus Arts, which is currently one of the best schools for aspiring young circus performers besides Ringling Brother’s own “Clown College”. Ms. Finelli was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1989, and by 2004 she became quadriplegic. The 2008 graduates of the Clown Conservatory formed the Naked Clowns, jovially intent on donating 100% of the proceeds from their performances and the Naked Clowns calendar to the Judy Finelli Fund.
Despite the attire of the Naked Clowns during their performances, the shows themselves are completely harmless and enjoyable for all ages. The Naked Clowns take great efforts to ensure that neither their calendars nor their performances contain any instances of real nudity, and the shows are of a nature one would find in any circus or clown street show. Overall, the Naked Clowns seem to have mixed their inherent need of expression with marketing, the result being a virtuous cause to put an end to one of the world’s worst diseases.
Recently, the Naked Clowns began “the Naked Dream” program, which every month will award a cash grant to a single MS-afflicted child that wishes to pursue any given dream. This enterprise seems to be expanding quite a bit, as the Naked Clowns appear to have a booked performance calendar through 2009 and have even performed in New York’s Time Square.
Bizarre, but brilliant.
2. The Institute of Noetic Sciences
I wasn’t quite sure what ‘Noetic Sciences’ meant when I heard of it, either. The IONS motto is “Advancing the science of consciousness and human experience,” which at first sounds somewhat legitimate, until one takes a closer look at a line in their mission statement which states: “IONS explores phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models, while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor.” That’s a little broad, no?
The Institute of Noetic Sciences is located in Southern California, and if their general setup is any indication, they’ve been successful in raising money thus far. The IONS headquarters has an area that is used as a retreat, and also grants tours to people interested in seeing the compound. They also hold events where instructors teach some very useful things, such as meditation, how to participate in global philanthropy, and yoga for pregnant women. However, some of the classes offered by IONS would definitely qualify as odd, such as teaching people to understand the thoughts and behaviors of extraterrestrials, and one class called “The Mystery School”. What the Mystery School is was not readily available; obviously it wouldn’t be a mystery then. IONS website, located at http://www.noetic.org/, has no shortage of information and even “psi games” where you can literally put your psychic skills to the test.
IONS also runs the publication Shift Magazine, which further aids IONS enthusiasts in exploring the three principles of which IONS is founded upon: investigating consciousness and Healing, emerging world views, and extended human capacities. At first glance, IONS may seem like a cult, but the sincerity of the organization and its desire to find the “gray area” in our black and white world makes IONS quite an interesting an advantageous charity.
Unfortunately, The Institute of Noetic Sciences may not have as much substance as it does style; it was rated with a “one-star” on charitynavigator.org.
1. The Chilean Charity Prostitute
This 2007 event was as strange as it sounds, was absolutely real, and I can’t make any jokes about it that haven’t been made already. High class Chilean escort Maria Carolina, poised to donate to the cause of handicapped children, claimed she would accept 27 hours worth of sex for which she’d donate the proceeds. “”I am going to contribute with my work to a purpose that touches me deeply,” as she was quoted from an online publication that later described her as “spreading her message.”
Is that what the kids are calling it now?
Reuters reported that while the campaign organizer initially refused to be a part of Ms. Carolina’s auction in any way or accept the money, he later said that his organization did not encourage “immoral” activity, but they would accept Ms. Carolina’s money. Smart man.
Ms. Carolina proceeded to auction her 27 hour love-fest in media outlets and the internet, especially her own website of http://mariacarolina.com, to which there were many respondents but one person quickly won the auction with a bid of $4,000. Ms. Carolina soon defended her position when she told Reuters “”There are people who are going to be donating money that’s a lot more questionable than mine, the only thing I did was publicize it.”
Before you think it was a scam, it wasn’t. Ms. Carolina donated every cent of her day’s work to the Teleton charity, which heartily thanked her. In addition to becoming an internet celebrity due to her efforts, she also brought attention to the charity to which she was donating to. While Ms. Carolina has not auctioned off her services for charity since 2007, she continues to operate out of Chile and through her website.
Ms. Carolina’s fundraising technique was unsavory to say the least, but she remained honest and raised a great deal of money for a worthy cause doing the thing she was best at. To that end, Ms. Carolina’s charity may’ve been bizarre, but Ms. Carolina herself did quite the amazing deed that few others are willing to do. Ms. Carolina is the living “prostitute with a heart of gold” through making Chilean handicapped children (and one lucky Chilean man) smile.
Toast to to Maria Carolina, the woman that gave the gift that keeps on giving.
This story was reposted as it was seen on akorra.com (http://bit.ly/dBnnTi)