Yesterday, USA Today reported on Virginia businessman and entrepreneur Earl Stafford, who is using a portion of his fortune for the “People’s Inaugural Project” — an project bringing 400 plus disadvantaged citizens to Washington to participate in the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
He is inviting whom he calls those “marginalized by society”: disabled veterans, indigent children, the terminally ill, battered women, the disadvantaged, the homeless and the elderly. The article quotes him, saying:
“‘When things are good, people don’t need philanthropy as much. It’s when the economy has a great downturn, as today, that businesses need to step up,’ says Stafford, the son of a Baptist minister who is motivated by his Christian faith. ‘People are hurting, and no one is bailing out the people. We must become our brothers’ keepers, indeed.'”
The most impressing part of the project, in my opinion, is what he is giving people beyond new outfits and a great view of next week’s events. The trip will include seminars on budgeting, life and work skills, and health care. There will be counselors, doctors, social workers and business people assisting those who come.
“It would be a sin if we brought these people in their distressed situations and brought them to a party, to festivities and celebrations, and sent them home in the same condition as they came. We would be patronizing and using these people.”
You can read the entire article here: http://www.usatoday.com/money/2009-01-15-executive-inaugural-events-disadvantaged_N.htm