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Did You Ever Think Life Would Turn Out Like This?

 A Different Kind of Emergency Fundraising Appeal

life

[Update – 4/19/15 – I am absolutely blown away by the tremendous outpouring of support! Just over the weekend, my $1,000 goal has almost been met. THANK YOU!!! Check status or contribute here.

That goal was based upon an immediate need to generate cash to renew my blog server host, plus 1 year’s internet service. As I noted, I am in a financial hole and lacked the money to do that.

I discovered this fundraising tool on Friday from a group of University of Virginia students that were fundraising for an anti-fracking bike tour (see: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride), and after reading that appeal, in my financial desperation, I thought I’d try a Hail Mary.

So, given the incredible support, I am going to expand my fundraising objectives – until I find paid work, perhaps fundraising can help dig me out of the hole I’m in.

I filed 6 month extensions for my state and federal taxes, which I estimate at about $4,000 and I am about $11,000 in arrears on my mortgage, which my bank just began foreclosure on.

So, my next goal will be $15,000 over the next 6 months with the objective to pay my taxes and mortgage arrears.

This goal might be more realistic if I ask for smaller contributions from more people – perhaps just $5 – $10 instead of the big checks people are writing.

I can understand if people are not comfortable with this – because instead of Keep WolfeNotes alive, it’s turning into Keep Wolfe Alive.

But if this works out, perhaps it can be the means of replacing a salary and I can do Wolfenotes as a full time gig. ~~~ end update.]

Look, I’m not going to write some perky upbeat Foundation formulated bullshit about seeking support for an informed, highly credible, expert, and independent voice that holds the powerful accountable, supports grassroots activism, shapes media and policy narratives, and tells the truth as he sees it (while being effective and influential at the same time).

My experience suggests a darker perspective.

Regular readers here know what I try to do. Hopefully, I’ve provided something of value to you. I think its unique and something that no other source provides.

If so, I am now asking that you give back a little to help me over a rough spot. Given the traffic at this site, a small contribution from just 25% of readers could provide funding to support my efforts.

So, readers have three choices at this point: 1) hit the delete button now; 2) go directly to my fundraising site and make a contribution; or 3) read on and decide how to proceed.

My current situation reminds me of a crushing scene from the 1978 movie “Deer Hunter” – a film I both love and hate for reasons too complex to discuss here – between Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro where Streep’s character says (watch the whole scene):

Did you ever think life would turn out like this?

And, as he pulls off in his old Cadillac, De Niro tersely responds:

No

Well neither did I.

That’s about where I’m at right now.

I never  thought that at 58 years old, I’d be broke and on the verge of homelessness.

I never thought –  in what should be the height of my professional career –  that after an Ivy League graduate school education, followed by a 13 year career in State government and 17 years in the non-profit sector as an environmental advocate, that I’d be unemployed – perhaps unemployable – and facing foreclosure and homelessness.

Guess you could say that I’m at my George Bailey moment.

This is the precarious position of many men of my age, skill set, and ideological disposition. The news calls it long term unemployment.

I call it expendable.

After being a whistleblower and working for PEER for a decade and mashing everyone’s toes, there’s not exactly a huge demand for my professional services – in the private or public sectors.

Whether I’m a victim of the modern age, whether I’m just a total failure as a human being and professional, or whether this is an opportunity to experience what Allan Watts called “the wisdom of insecurity” – remains to be seen.

So, that’s all a round about way to begin a very awkward and humiliating form of internet begging.

For many years, I’ve kept this website free of advertising and fund raising.

Since 2005, in my capacity as NJ PEER Director and blogger here, I’ve focused on the work and freely gave my time and expertise to numerous citizen groups – never asking for or expecting anything in return.

But now I am desperate. Here’s whats going on.

PEER is in financial crisis and they laid me off back in October 2014. I was unknowingly reclassified as an independent contractor and was denied unemployment benefits, a decision I am currently appealing.

I’m flat out broke, have not paid the mortgage, and am facing foreclosure.

Those that are be interested in financially supporting my work can make a contribution at this fundraising site.

I would love to be financially secure enough to write what I’d like to, whatever the consequences,  as I have done on this blog.

But that kind of truth telling gets many people pissed off.

As my friend Scott Olson recently tweeted, speaking truth to power is not free.

I formed the NJ Chapter of PEER in 2005. Since then, I’ve tried to support citizens across the state in their efforts to promote public health and protection of the environment.

I think I’ve provided information and analysis that has assisted grass roots activists and the professionals in well funded environmental groups.

I wish I could say that those NJ groups and the NJ based environmental grant making foundations supported my work.

But, over time, that support has withered from little to none – all while totally ineffective groups and campaigns have been well funded.

So, if you appreciate a different point of view that tries to support arguments with facts and distributes relevant information widely, then share the love – make a contribution.

If I can make this work, I’ll expand the Wolfenotes efforts and do this full time, providing more information and reporting on more issues.

Sorry to have to humiliate myself and grovel like this. Believe me, I do this as a last resort.

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