Shopping with a purpose

This article from Brandweek was interesting in its own right as a validation of the importance of Social Networking to e-Tailers – but what I found particularly interesting was this quote:

One of every three consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product or service if they knew that a certain amount of the purchase price was being donated directly to a cause or campaign.

Seems like a fairly straightforward feature to add to a shopping cart, but I haven’t seen it before. Maybe That Software Guy will add it to Zen Cart.

Gift Suggestion for Christmas 2007: Williamson School

Friday, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported that industrialist Henry Rowan of the Inductotherm Group has provided a five million dollar challenge grant to the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.

Williamson is a very unusual school. Tuition is free and provided on the basis of need. Students are required to board at the school. Student life is highly structured, including daily chapel and work detail including assistance in food preparation and facility maintenance. Values and civic responsibility are taught in addition to technical skills. In the school’s own words:

The School’s core values are: Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service.

Rowan himself is plainspoken about the benefits of the school:

“It seemed such a valuable contribution to the economy when you take fellows that might not be able to get a job on Wall Street but can make things and build things and do things.”

I am encouraging readers of this blog, clients of That Software Guy, and people who have benefited from the free software I have written to please consider donating to Williamson in support of this challenge grant. The gift of the dignity of labor to a young person who has nothing is the best gift possible for “the person who has everything.”

You can make your gift online using their web form.

If you prefer to mail a check, Williamson’s mailing address is:

Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades
Attn: John J. Schlesinger, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
106 S. New Middletown Rd., Media, PA 19063

Young guy makes WSJ’s “Gift of the Week”

36 year old Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape, gave $27.5 million to Stanford University Hospital. Wow! Here’s Marc talking about the gift on his blog.

Mrs. Thatcher used to say, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if all he had were good intentions. He had good intentions and money.” (If you haven’t this story in a while, you can read it here.)

Even if you can’t give $27.5 million, I’m sure you can make some room in your business budget to support a cause that’s meaningful to you. It’s a powerful way to influence the world around you in a positive direction.