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Help retire huge Student Loan and help a charity
$125 Raised
0% of $300k goal
10 contributors
0 days left
Ended Jan 3, 2014
My name is Carl Smith and I am a pharmacist. I am a first generation, middle class college graduate. I have a heart to help others, and have started a charity to do so. However, crushing student loan debt makes it hard for me to provide for my own ... More ...
My name is Carl Smith and I am a pharmacist. I am a first generation, middle class college graduate. I have a heart to help others, and have started a charity to do so. However, crushing student loan debt makes it hard for me to provide for my own family. I am looking to do an experiment to show that when we chip in small amounts in large numbers, we can dig one another out of large financial holes.

My student loans are just over $320,000. This is what I owe, not including the interest I will pay, which will double the money out of my pocket. The options I have to mitigate this impact are few, as my income is at a level that I am considered highly compensated (therefore taxed higher) and my profession has less options for loan forgiveness. My family is living on less than many others despite my income.

But why would help me? Well because it is both a real need felt by a real family, AND because it is an experiment to explore the process of giving and asking. Also because I see myself as the type of person who gives to others without judgment, and I want to be free to do this, both through my charisty Samaritan Finder and when called upon by others.

My nature is to reflexively give when asked. I have $10 in my pocket, and someone says they need $10 for gas, its yours. It kills me to not help my neighbors. Few people are fortunate to have large sums of resource available to mobilize when asked. The way I advocate in all things, including Samaritan Finder, is the coming together of many small gifts to accomplish larger goals.

I started the charity Samaritan Finder locally to help coordinate help for others in this manner. You see a need, you give of what you can. We didn't campaign for cash donations, only time and goods to meet specific needs brought to us. It was a zero overhead charity.

I say was because I recently had to suspend operations. It is a small charity and I feel like we have made a positive difference in many lives. However, a lot of the goods and services provided (school clothes and Christmas presents for needy, diapers for newborns, gas cards for single moms, prescription drug help, etc.) were coming from my own pocket.

I had my main student loans in deferment but now that they are requiring payment, I am unable to execute on needs that are not supplied for by banging the drum. So we temporarily "paused" the charity, which runs mainly via Facebook and world of mouth, until I had a grasp on my family finances (I have a wife and two preschool age children).

Then I remembered an experiment I have always had in mind. What if the MANY could give of what they had and pooled it together? How much GOOD could be done? The small amount an individual contributes wouldn't matter as long as the total could be directed to worthy causes.

Again, this is what I try to instill with my charity. We don't ask you to give until it hurts. Give of what you have, and improve the lives of others. Often we find that giving is exhilarating, and many choose to dig deep, and we love that! But the premise has always been chip in, together we will meet the need.

When I was in college the first time (I studied to be a minister), my loan was much smaller. And I always thought "there must be 30,000 people who could easily donate $1 each to pay for my schooling! Then in return it would free me to donate to others who come to me with needs!

Twenty years later, many advances in technology, and a tenfold increase in student loan total I am coming back to that same idea.

Do I expect to raise the full amount? No, as a matter of fact I rounded it down to $300,000 just as an example. This whole process is a functional experiment, and I will be sharing what has been learned all along the way.

But I want to challenge anyone I can reach to give not until they bleed, but what they can comfortably donate. I would assume for many this will be from $1-$10.

If, using the internet and word of mouth we can reach 60,000 willing souls averaging $5 each (approximately the price of a SINGLE comic book, value meal at a fast food restaurant, or a large coffee treat), my goal would be met. Surely there are 60,000 citizens in America that understand the value of my experiment? When we work together, we can change the course of the lives of our neighbors in a positive way.

I have seen Kickstarter's raise $100,000 in a weeks time for the publishing of books, comic books, and even for endeavors into the world of film. Surely changing the life of a family like mine is equally as worthy of some expendable income?

So - the hard question... are you just hiding behind this charity to have your debts paid? No, I feel that I am not, but I am very clear that this debt is out of my foreseeable control, So using my own need as a test case serves 3 purposes. 1) it frees me of the prison that keeps me from doing more outreach
2) being my own debt, I have the access I need to be fully accountable and honest with reporting on success and progress, and 3) I am a person who is going to use expendable income for others. By freeing my income for the next 30 years, you are in effect paying forward to see more paying forward. It is an investment in do-gooding.

Once this is live, I too will be donating toward my own goal... every time I make a sacrifice and skip a fast food trip or turn down an impulse buy, the appropriate money will be given toward the goal as well. Hopefully this will illustrate the mechanism and the ease at how small funds can be found

Thank you for your time and your donations!
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