in English

Open Letter to Mr. Bezos


Dear Mister #JeffBezos,

Please, consider this my #jobapplication.

I was so pleased to read about your plans/efforts to #donate a fortune to charitable causes. I also hear (i.e., read) that you find the process challenging sometimes, so I would like to provide you with an easy solution: #hireme to do it!

And, yes, I am perfectly serious.

The value of a dollar might be subject to constant change as far as the exchange market is concerned. Beyond that, however, I believe that it strongly depends on its recipient.

I am sure you do not need me to tell you how dollars have the power to save lives in the so-called “Third World.” Clean water, healthcare, food, shelter, education… all are sorely needed there, with an urgency that can hardly be underestimated. Of course, you do not need me to tell you this, and I am perfectly aware that all of this is much more complicated than simply sending some money there. You do know this much better than I do.

What I do know is that even small-ish amounts of money can directly impact a person’s life and, from there, can cause a chain reaction of good to the people connected with them.

1 dollar can buy a kid at school a (reduced) school breakfast and lunch, depending on the school’s location.

2 dollars might save a person at the supermarket checkout from embarrassment and disappointment when it turns out that, even after searching for the very last change in their pockets, they do not have enough money to pay for the few items in their cart

10 dollars to a homeless person might provide them with a decent meal and a hot drink to get them through the day.

50 dollars to a family subsiding on EBT might make the difference between getting fed and getting fed nicely for the Holidays.

80 dollars might get a person a decent-looking used outfit so that they can make a decent impression for an urgently needed job interview.

500 dollars might get a person a good-enough laptop to enable them to start working remotely and earn a living.

Being able to pay for baby formula or not, being able to pay for your medication, being able to clothe your children to attend school, to fill your car with gas to get to work, being able to make that one mortgage or rent payment that prevents foreclosure or eviction. Being able to pay the repair cost for the car that is not only your way of transportation but the place where you are forced to sleep and keep everything you possess (yes, that has just happened to one of my clients who I coach on a pro bono basis.) A battered woman being able to leave their abusive partner, a single mother (or father) being able to raise their child, a mentally ill person getting access to therapy… the list seems endless.

Sorry, I certainly don’t mean to sound like a sanctimonious b*tch.

If I sound like a hopeless idealist… well, that I can handle, even though I prefer to think of myself as more hopeful than hopeless.

What I am trying to say is that I can’t stop dreaming about how much good a thousand dollars can do, once one starts thinking in those terms. Or even 10,000 dollars. When I think about the possibilities that 1,000,000 dollars or more would provide if given away in such a context… an accumulation of all these individual cases being taken care of, being multiplied, and snowballing… THAT almost takes my breath away!

I come across so many opportunities for help in my life and my work. But there is only so much I can do on my own, and I am just beginning to build a potential network of like-minded people.

I do not have a million to give away. I do have the means to volunteer my time and energy, to give the odd donation, to organize a few more or less successful fundraisers to support certain individuals and/or causes.

And I do have the means to write this potentially naive and potentially awkward message. Yup, I am perfectly willing to make a fool of myself if that’s what it takes.

I am going to publish this before I can change my mind.

I am going to send it to a few selected email inboxes, wondering if someone there might actually read it and think: “Hey, yeah, why not, let’s forward it, let’s process it up the proverbial food chain! Let’s see if this weird gal can do more than just blow smoke and talk goody-goody.”

It’s possible, after all.

A few decades ago, you were sitting in your garage, working on your dream. Well, this is MY dream! How about it?


Susanne Wagner

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