Monday, 17 March 2014

Dreams (ain't they grand?)

When I first went to uni (college for you 'Mericans), much of my tuition was paid for via scholarships and grants.  I was very grateful for those people and foundations who enabled me to gain a higher education.  So impressed was I, one of my greatest dreams was to start a scholarship fund, should I ever find myself with a million dollars.

Back then, the idea that I would ever have a million dollars, much less one I could spend on something like a scholarship fund, was mildly ludicrous. But since when should ludicrousness ever stop one from dreaming?  (After all, I also dream of getting a nice, memorable kiss from Richard Armitage.)

In the early stages of my dreaming, I even researched what it would take to create a scholarship foundation.  To register as a charity, I had to fill out this paperwork and that paperwork, and fill these forms and pay those fees and jump through a bunch of red-taped hoops that laid a very wet blanket on my plans. Bummer. A goodly portion of my funds would go towards something other than scholarships.  That put a damper on my plans.

Ah well, it was just a dream, so I ignored those issues by tucking them firmly away in the back of my head, and dreamed instead of bestowing scholarship cheques on everyone who applied for one.

I thought, should I make my scholarship a specialist one?  Should I create a scholarship for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy?  Or should I create one for writers?  How about those who were not great scholars in High School, who only just got into college by virtue of sheer luck (and high test scores)?  For that class of student, scholarships are harder to come by, than, say, your 4.0 student. That would be groovy.

And so, the fantasy goes.

Then, while researching ways to fund my own grad school, I came across crowdfunding as a way of funding education.

Crowdfunding for education?  B R I L L I A N T !!

A dream that had been a long shot, suddenly became a very real possibility.

1.  Goodbve registration of a charity and red tape and other legal restrictions.  I can donate as a private citizen.
2.  Goodbye needing a million dollars before I can contribute to this dream. I can get going for only $5K.
2a.  Forget hundreds and hundreds of dollars, as I originally thought a scholarship handout would ahve to be.  I can bless a student with a mere $25.
3. Given enough capital, I can contribute to hundreds, if not thousands of students, thereby enabling so many, many people!  The more capital I've got, the more people I can fund.  (Okay, a million dollars would be nice.  Invested wisely, with a 4% withdrawal rate, I could either fund ten thousand students per annum with Funds of Significance, or I could share it out among nearly a quarter million students with smaller amounts. In perpetuity.)

Do you know how earth-shatteringly wonderful it is to realise that a once-distant dream is now a very close reality?


Such wow.

Many delirious happy.

So yeah. Once I get sufficient capital, I'll start crowdfunding education as a way of paying forward the generosity of those who funded my own education through scholarships and grants.

My dream is coming true!

Wanna help?  Go crowdfund someone who needs tuition money.  Wanna help me in my dreams?  Go buy my novella "As Good As Gold".  And then when future novellas and novels come out, go buy them as well.  The income from my writing will fund my capital that will provide continuous income which I can devote towards future crowdfunding scholarships.

Her Grace is a strong proponent of higher education, not only for increasing income opportunities, but also for the sheer joy of learning.  This is why she's indulging in an MFA at the moment, and hopes to pursue a MS in Astronomy next.  P.S.  Richard, if Her Grace succeeds in this dream, will you come give her a kiss?

No comments: