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I love Mental Floss (both the magazine and the books I refer to as "mental floss.") I was proud to see that I’d made the list of 6 Curious College Donations. My CU Boulder Bathroom joined Andrew Carnegie’s lake at Princeton, P.T. Barnum’s dead animals at Tufts, Frances Crick’s attempted brothel at Cambridge University, W.K. Kellogg’s horse shows at Cal-Poly Pomona, and Bob Gibson’s science fiction collection at the University of Calgary.
If you know me, you know that I have a weird obsession with bathrooms. It goes back a long time and definitely has some strange psychologic underpinnings that I’m sure Dr. Freud would have fun discussing. I don’t fight it – I just roll with it.
Several years ago, I had a discussion with Heidi Roizen about her failed attempt to get her name on a bathroom at Stanford during their fundraising drive for a new building on campus. The rejection came with the admonishment that it wasn’t an appropriate thing to do. I laughed and told Heidi – "no problem – I’m sure I can get one at MIT in no time – they are more flexible in their thinking about what is appropriate." Boy was I wrong – I’ve written about the story before on this blog if you are interested. The bottom line is the request apparently went around the system before being crushed by the bureaucracy somewhere at MIT. Their loss.
No such challenge at CU Boulder. I wrote about the immediate response of ATLAS’s director John Bennett to my Stanford / MIT bathroom story. Following is the result a few months later.
That’s me standing in the doorway of the second floor men’s room at ATLAS next to my plaque which says "“The Best Ideas Often Come At Inconvenient Times – Don’t Ever Close Your Mind To Them.”
John – nicely done. The Boulder Daily Camera interviewed me yesterday and wrote a fun story about it, including the punch line from John that ATLAS has seven other bathrooms that have the potential to be named.
MIT – that could have been your money!
Amy and I are proud to announce that we’ve completed the fundraising for Boulder Building New Orleans. Our goal was to raise $50,000 to fund a high quality / low cost house in New Orleans for someone displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Due to the generosity of many of our friends in Boulder (and several from outside Boulder), we’ve accomplished this goal. The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County was instrumental in helping us manage this effort. Thanks to everyone involved! Following is the press release that the Community Foundation issued last month.
Boulder Building New Orleans
Local giving builds a home for a New Orleans family
BOULDER COUNTY (November 12, 2007) – A little over a year ago Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld had a discussion about how they could directly contribute to rebuilding New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They had made financial contributions and underwritten several trips of students to the city, but Batchelor and Feld were looking for something tangible to do. A close friend and nationally known architect, Coleman Coker, told the couple of a project he was working on with his Tulane architect students building contemporary, sustainable, affordable housing in New Orleans.
“Coleman connected us with the folks at the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans (NHS), a New Orleans based non-profit that helps first time home buyers,” said Feld. “After a little study, we determined that Coleman and his students could provide a high quality house for a family for a $100,000. As a result, we put together a program, in conjunction with The Community Foundation, that we call Boulder Building New Orleans (BBNO). Our goal was to raise half of the purchase price through donations and then have the family take out a mortgage for the other half. With the contributions of others in the Boulder area, we have raised our $50,000 goal. Amy and I are covering all administrative costs of the program so 100% of the donations are going toward the house.”
Architects are currently finishing construction drawings of the “Boulder House” and are on schedule to break ground the first of the year. NHS is providing the line of credit to finance the construction.
Coleman’s students at Tulane University and NHS are building multiple houses with the help of donors like those here in the Boulder area.
“We hope the BBNO house will inspire other cities to build a house just like ours. Just think of what New Orleans would look like if every city builds just one house,” said Feld.
Donations to the Boulder Building New Orleans Fund through The Community Foundation are 100% tax deductible.
The Community Foundation exists to improve the quality of life in Boulder County, now and forever, and to build a culture of giving. The Foundation connects the resources of local donors with non-profit organizations to facilitate philanthropy in meaningful and useful ways, for good and forever. www.commfound.org
Terry Gold – the co-founder of Gold Systems – was one of the first entrepreneurs that I met in early 1996 shortly after Amy and I moved to Boulder. At the time Gold Systems was about 15 people. Terry, his partner Jim, and I went for plenty of long walks in 1996 and 1997 as they tried to navigate the waters of growing a young business. As I got to know Terry better, he came to epitomize the ideal of a thoughtful and generous entrepreneur and person.
Through Mobius, I invested in Gold Systems in 2000. Terry and his team grew quickly after the investment but then had to struggle with the telecommunications downturn in 2002. Due to Terry and his team’s perseverance, they survived and have gone on to build a solid member of the Boulder tech community.
I’m proud of what Terry and the team at Gold Systems have accomplished. I’m very pleased that have chosen to become a member of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado. Thanks Gold Systems.
A little over a year ago Amy and I had a discussion about how we could directly contribute to rebuilding New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We have made financial contributions and underwritten several trips of students to the city, but we were looking for something tangible to do.
A close friend and nationally known architect – Coleman Coker of buildingstudio – told us of a project he was working on with his colleague Jonathan Tate to build high quality, low cost housing in New Orleans. He connected us with the folks at the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans a New Orleans based non-profit that helps first time home buyers.
After a little study, we determined that for $50,000 we could provide a high quality house for a family based on Coleman’s design (approximately 900 sq. ft.)
To date, we have raised a little over $40,000. Amy and I are covering all administrative costs of the program so 100% of the donations are going toward the house. On the second anniversary of the land fall of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Amy and I thought we’d put together a final push to get the $50,000 raised for this project.
If you are inclined, please consider making a donation to Boulder Building New Orleans. You don’t need to be from Boulder to do this – you’ll be part of helping our extended community provide a new house for a family in New Orleans. Any amount helps – electronic donations can be made in amounts as little as $10. While it might not seem like a lot, it’ll be life changing for the folks that end up living in the house.