Your Selfless Act

There is a Friends episode I really love. This particular episode stands out because of the way it makes me think. It is entitled The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS. For those of you who were not Friends fanatics, during this episode Phoebe and Joey engage in a philosophical debate about whether people are inherently selfish or if it is possible to do something completely unselfish. Joey challenges Phoebe to perform a selfless gesture. In trying to do so, Phoebe donates to PBS, a cause she does not support. Her call is routed to Joey, who is volunteering at the studio, and takes her call live on TV. When he asks if she felt good about helping him be seen on television, she is forced to concede. And, of course, Joey wins their debate. Phoebe, in doing her selfless act, feels good about helping her friend.

Researchers have confirmed via MRI scans what Joey already knew; making donations to charity actually activates pleasure receptors in our brains. In helping others, we do, in fact, help ourselves. This month, I would like to help you, help me help someone else. Allow me to explain.

In March, I began The Frederick (Ricky) Rubtchinsky Memorial Scholarship at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, named for my uncle. He was the uncle who tangoed at weddings, toasted at family gatherings, and lit up any room he entered. He was a competitive Scrabble player and an almost Boston Marathon runner. He was a collector of records and of life-long friends. He always had a ready ear, kind smile and available shoulder. And, he possessed the rare and admirable ability to make everyone he met feel special.

I am in the process of raising $50,000 for this scholarship and I am asking for your support. I know it seems crazy to try to fundraise in a recession, but this is when your dollars are needed the most. Still not convinced? Wondering what's in it for you? Here are 10 reasons to give:

10. Pay-It-Forward ~ This scholarship will allow the recipients access to higher education. You will be helping someone with your random act of kindness.

9. The Ultimate Regift ~ With your one donation, you honor me, my uncle and my family. In addition, your donation also grants the scholarship recipients access to education which is a gift to them, their families and their future family.

8. Wonderful Way of Thanks ~ I would consider it an honor and a show of appreciation for those of you who do enjoy Mannersmith Monthly.

7. Name Your Number ~ Pick a number, any number. Your donation can be as small as $5 or as large as $5,000. Any amount helps. Choose a number that is meaningful to you. The cost of one Starbuck's coffee, your cat's birthday, the year you met your true love, or a multiple of your lucky number. Make this contribution relevant and meaningful to your life.

6. Petty Philanthropist ~ You need not have millions to be a philanthropist. By engaging in a spirit of giving, you are helping to make the world a better place and make helping others a habit.

5. Good Karma ~ Even when business consultants strongly recommended I start charging a subscription fee I choose to keep Mannersmith Monthly free. In 9 years and over 90 newsletters, I have never charged a fee. But now I am asking for your help funding this scholarship.

4. Double Blind Donation ~ Among philosophers and philanthropists, the double blind donation is considered one of the highest levels of giving. You do not know the recipient and the recipient does not know you. This is truly a noble way to give.

3. Double Your Dollars ~ A generous donor has offered to match, dollar for dollar, your contributions. This means your $5 dollar donation turns to $10. Your $10 donation turns to $20. Your $20 donation turns to $40. You get the picture.

2. Triple The Take ~ If your employer engages in matching funds for educational institutions, you can submit the necessary forms to have your donation matched. With your employer match and the generous donor match, you have tripled your contribution.

1. Lots of Little is a Lot ~ Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." There are enough Mannersmith Monthly subscribers that if each of you donated $20 right now, the entire scholarship would be fully funded right now. Today.

Here is the link. Will you help me make a difference? Will you perform a selfless act?

Contribute to the Frederick Rubtchinsky Memorial Scholarship

Thank you in advance. I knew I could count on you!