Blogger Charity Smackdown: Do Good and Also Help Kara Get a Free Lunch With Yahoo's Jerry Yang!
So I call and email Yahoo PR all the time in what is now a futile quest to get some sit-down interview time with CEO Jerry Yang, whom I have known and covered for, I don’t know, what feels like a kabillion years.
So far, no dice!
I don’t know why, but it might have to do with Yang wanting to be sealed in a non-press bubble, while he does his 100-day evaluation of the company (although he has certainly gotten out and about in Silicon Valley, visiting everyone and their cousins in the tech sector of late).
Or maybe they don’t like the ongoing leaks to me and other reporters about the company’s doings from, well, everyone with an Internet connection at Yahoo (and that does not include the people who have left of late, of whom there are many).
So much is the displeasure that Yang made an impassioned plea to staunch the uncontrolled flow of tidbits about the company to the hundreds of VPs he gathered almost a week ago at what some who attended are now calling the “Kumbaya Summit.”
Though uninvited, I wrote a detailed account of the meeting, which included an appearance by Apple’s Steve “Oprah” Jobs, from such sources.
At the meeting, Yang argued that these alleged leakers, whom I would rather compare to whistle-blowers, were harming the company.
I don’t know about that, as I think most of them truly care about Yahoo, but feel frustrated with the leadership and want to do something to get things moving.
(And let’s hope execs there don’t get all vindictive and conduct a press-leaking witch hunt to find any of these employees, because I know that will only result in filling my inbox with even more juicy scoops for a long time to come.)
So it’s freeze time for BoomTown and we must remedy this sad state of affairs (see this nice picture above of Yang and other Yahoo co-founder David Filo at D3 with Walt and me in happier times).
But better yet: What if we could mend our relationship and also do good at the same time! And BoomTown readers can help.
In September, I wrote a post about a cool charity site called DonorsChoose.org, which funds classroom projects in high-need public schools, using the Web to match teacher project requests with donors.
The site allows teachers nationwide to upload proposals for resources and projects–from books to playgrounds–they need funding for and matches them with donors.
DonorsChoose then authenticates every project proposal before posting it, buys the resources when a project is funded and sends the goods off to teachers, with some donors also adding more money to pay for fulfillment costs.
Now, in the month of October, it has launched a “Blogger Challenge,” wrangling some bloggers to compete to raise money among our readers by picking favorite projects and setting a fund-raising goal.
Here is the AllThingsD page on the DonorsChoose site, and you can also access it using the nifty fund-raising thermometer on the left rail of this page.
I picked tech projects in both San Francisco (where I live) and Washington, D.C. (where Walt Mossberg lives) and we have set a goal of $25,000.
Some of the other bloggers involved, besides me, include Peter Rojas of Engadget, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Anil Dash of Six Apart, Fred Wilson of A VC, Lockhart Steele (formerly of Gawker) on his Curbed and Eater blogs, Apartment Therapy and Tomato Nation.
And Web companies are also participating: Google is giving an award for the bloggers who raise the most money, Six Apart an award for the bloggers who help the greatest number of students and Federated Media will award the bloggers who come up with the most creative incentives for readers to give.
We hope to win that too, via our dastardly master plan of winning the award Yahoo is giving. The company is sponsoring an award for the bloggers who inspire the most readers to give and the winner will get a free lunch with Jerry Yang!
That’s where you come in! I need numbers! Hundreds! Thousands! From Yahoo’s troops even!
Even Yang agrees!
“The DonorsChoose.org Blogger Challenge could inspire the blogosphere to help hundreds of thousands of students from low-income communities,” said Yang in the press release from DonorsChoose about the challenge. “This challenge represents a great union of citizen journalists and citizen philanthropists. Yahoo is excited to see which bloggers can engage the most readers in improving our public schools.”
In point of fact, Yahoo has been very generous to DonorsChoose, giving out donation certificates to its employees, helping in the charity’s tech build-out and being uniformly generous in making donations.
Sure, you can get riveted to TechMeme’s new Leaderboard (we’re No. 45! we’re No. 45!) if you want to know where you rank with a bunch of fellow bloggers or you can pick your little head up and look at the wide world out there in desperate need of some geek-fueled help.
Yes, we can! And, as a reward for your generosity to those in need, I will make a video for you of Yang munching on a grilled cheese sandwich!
Also below is a video I did of DonorsChoose Founder Charles Best, talking about the charity:
And here again is the AllThingsD page on the DonorsChoose site.