The Punish Geoff Fundraiser

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Image by Connie Reece

Why punish me? Well, opinionated bloggers tend to ruffle a few feathers along the way. What better way to help my good friend Mark Horvath fight homelessness through InvisiblePeople.tv, and get a $10,000 matching grant from the Pierce Foundation than to give my “frenemies” a chance to get even!

Feel like I’ve give you too much grief about your product or content? Did I unfairly shut you down in a conversation or tell you to go pound sand? Perhaps you just think I’m a bit too snarky for my own good? Or maybe I really pissed you off!

GET EVEN!

Here are the punishments you can enact on me:

1) $18 – I will receive a shaving cream pie in the face (56 donations at this amount needed, 12 received)

2) $47 – Dress in drag for a Google Hang Out or U-Stream on the Fifth Estate (43 needed, 11 received)

3) $79 – You or a designee can throw me into pool while I am wearing a suit (27 needed)

4) $161 – I have to walk in front of Congress wearing a sandwich board that says “I wrote two social media books, PLEASE hire me!” (20 needed, 8 received)

Online fundraising for The Punish Geoff Fundraiser for InvisiblePeople.tv

NOTE: If the required amount of donations is received for any, all or a combination of these minifundraisers, I will gladly receive punishment within two days time! Any of the punishments will be videotaped! The campaign ends on August 5th. HUMILIATE ME FOREVER ON YOUTUBE! DONATE NOW AND PUT ME IN PAIN! And fight homelessness, too!

Why Homelessness

For years, I have worked on this cause. As a young man I almost became homeless myself after a dot com experience. Walking around DC, you see so many people who are ignored on the streets, tired, hungry and unloved. It is so inhumane. And with the current economy and budget environment, this has only worsened. Homelessness is on the rise.

How InvisiblePeople.tv Exposes Homelessness

Mark Horvath’s efforts to change the general public’s paradigms on homelessness has been noted by CNN, Mashable, GOOD, YouTube and many other traditional and new media outlets. InvisiblePeople.tv empowers homeless people to tell their own story via YouTube, Twitter and InvisiblePeople.tv. The strategy revolves around content through good storytelling, and providing real tangible actions; and a participation ethos of treating everyone with respect, doing what is right even when others don’t, and gratitude.

“The goal is to make the ‘invisible people’ in society more visible by bringing them out of the shadows where they are ignored,” said Horvath. “We’re using social media to expose the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions of people face each day.”

Each week, Horvath highlights homeless citizens stories on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to participating in the fight against homelessness.

Here are some of the many actions Horvath has inspired:

  • Getting a homeless veteran’s RV out of impound.
  • Starting housing programs.
  • Providing shelter for homeless citizens.
  • Provisioning homeless children with new shoes.
  • A farmer donated 40 acres of land now being used to supplement food for low income families at a public school.
  • Providing a homeless citizen with a tablet to blog.
  • Providing shelter and gifts to homeless family during Christmas

“There is far too many things to list,” said Horvath to me in an interview for my book Welcome to the Fifth Estate last year. “YouTube gave us the front page for 24 hours and over 2 million people touched homelessness who would have probably rolled down their window at an exit ramp.”

25 Replies to “The Punish Geoff Fundraiser”

  1. I had to laugh when I read this, Geoff! And also touched by you sharing your earlier situation; I had no idea. I know what it’s like to be worried about being homeless as well, though in a different situation than yours. So while I have no desire to punish you, I will happily donate to Mark’s cause!

    1. Thank you for the donation!  Thinking about life without a home is very scary for anyone, and is an ever increasing danger in our society. I wonder what the debt ceiling conversation does for people’s confidence.  It can’t be good.

  2. This is such an innovative idea.  I shared this and passed it along to those I know involved in fighting homelessness.  Thanks for sharing!  It shows that exposing the human element grips people and immediately attracts you.  All to often, we are afraid to show the human side of things and be ourselves.  And really, that is all anyone wants.

  3. You are still the man. This is an awesome idea, and it comforts me to know that positive campaigns like this can still thrive in the social networking world.

  4. Wonder how much actually goes to the homeless.  donate to the Red Cross or Salvation Army

    1. You can check out how legit both Geoff and Mark are. I will tell you that I would give money to Mark Horvath before donating to either the Red Cross or the Salvation Army – both of with have considerably higher “overhead” than Mark.  I’ve never seen an outreach program from huge organizations that is as on-the-street, been-there-and-know-it than Mark. It’s sad that you would post that rather than checking him out. Google is your friend.

    2. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the comment. Money donated to InvisiblePeople.tv goes to education, awareness and empowerment programs. I do fill in the gaps when there is service failures to help homeless people with much needed items, too. I really believe technology and social media can help people out of poverty. Take a look at what Carey (featured above) did with a video camera given to her http://careyfuller.com/blog/2011/07/calling-for-help/ 

      Not sure if the Red Cross has a homeless services program, and although there are lots of great Salvation Army programs out there, they use an older model that often will hurt a community instead of help. And that in part is what InvisiblePeople.tv does – educate about the good, bad and the ugly of homeless services.

      I believe we can end homelessness tomorrow,  but because the system is broken, and no one will talk about it – people are dying on the streets. InvisiblePeople.tv in a way is not only public education, but also the marketing plan for all homeless services – including Salvation Army. I started this with $45 and InvisiblePeople.tv has had more impact than all the multi-million dollar marketing budgets of homeless services organizations combined. I would bet Salvation Army spends millions of dollars each year on fundraising and marketing alone.

      Literally, because of InvisiblePeople.tv, housing programs have started, feeding programs have started, and entire communities have changed the way they think about homelessness affecting real change that is saving lives and money. AND, Salvation Army and Red Cross will tell you themselves about InvisiblePeople.tv’s impact!

      Right now I am traveling through Canada invited by the Canadian government to help them create a national conversation that will save lives and money. That alone should validate impact. For a small fraction of what any other homeless services spends InvisiblePeople.tv is helping to change a country.

      That’s all big picture stuff, and it’s nothing short of amazing the impact that has happened thanks to generous donors. But I like the small stories. A farmer donated donated land that is now being used to feed low-income families [http://hardlynormal.com/blog/2010/07/30/the-farm/], a housing program was started [http://hardlynormal.com/blog/2010/08/02/you-do-the-math/] and just recently a community rallied to housing a homeless man living on the streets over 20 years [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2011/04/26/calgary-homeless-video-youtube-invisible-people.html] I visited with Donny two weeks ago [http://hardlynormal.com/blog/2011/07/18/homeless-to-housing-success-story-meet-donny-in-his-apartment/] Interesting, I just came back from a community that has a 30 unit building sitting empty because of Salvation Army mismanagement.  It’s been that way since opening a few years back and I am sure costs millions every year – all wasted!

      Yet this story is my favorite. Terry was dying of cancer. He was 58 and homeless since 8 years-old. Because of InvisiblePeople.tv he was reunited with his long lost brother he hadn’t seen in 33 years. Terry died last month, and I have dedicated this road trip to his memory. But he did not die alone – he was with family [http://hardlynormal.com/blog/2011/05/31/terry-pettigrew-died-this-morning-in-a-home-with-family/]

      I could go on and on with story after story of the impact InvisiblePeople.tv has had, but I will be open and candid with you. I don’t make any profit from this. I don’t get a paycheck. I hope that will change soon and I can work on this full-time. But right now I work a $10hr job so I am not homeless (I am currently on leave of absence for the road trip)

      Until Geoff did this fundraiser I was worried. As is, there is not enough money for me to get back to Los Angeles. This year I had to make some hard choices to get this project going. And I have put a lot of my own money in. Money is just the fuel that keeps the project going. If you look at the day to day operations it’s rarely a day off with insane hours. I have worked close to 14 hour days nonstop since June 15th. The personal sacrifices are huge. Being candid again, I would stop tomorrow if it wasn’t for the impact and the stories like Donny’s and Terry’s.

      I am so very grateful for Geoff and all the people donating. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to make it this year. But more so than the money donated – I am grateful that people believe in me.

      You are all AWESOME!

      (((hugs)))

      Mark

    1. That’s good stuff, Howie. I wish I spent more time on this issue. I do some work at prisons still.

      1. Hi Mark!

        When I joined them they were doing Santa Monica outreach on the 3rd street promenade. I got Hollywood going (walk of fame). The Venice Boys and Girls club used to let us use their facilities. Very possible they do outreach in venice now days. We always tried going where the kids were. And sometimes they moved around. Not sure who the ED is now but I got to meet Rick Koca who was amazing. He came up from SD where their HQ used to be (I think it moved) and taught one of the counselor training classes.

        I am up in Albany NY in the forest so have been out of touch with LA but looking to reconnect with them and check in.

        You do great work btw. Been following you on twitter for quite sometime.

  5. How much goes to the homeless and how much goes to fishing trips?  If everything on the trip (car, gas etc) shouldn’t most of it go to the homeless? 

      1. Too bad you weren’t doing this in time for the White House Twitter Town Hall. You could have worn it there. Not sure they would have let you in, but it would have been funny!

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