Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bean Pie and Red Socked Donors

I'm at a rather intellectual fundraising conference on wealth and philanthropy, but I am thinking of beans and red socks. Not donors.

I am in Beantown, also known as Boston. And I love this town. It's my second visit and I like it even more on my second time around. The conference is at Boston College which is amazing all by itself.

This Beantown conference has a lot of philosophical information relating to donors and foundations and why people give to causes and to others. It's all about philia - friendship love - which could bring Philadelphia and philly cheese steak into this discussion if I really wanted to follow that line of logic, which I don't.

Have you heard the monologue that wonders if there was a convention where cities had the opportunity to choose an official food? Supposedly Chicago chose pizza, NY chose the hot dog, and Boston chose..........beans. Beans. Really? Beans? Amazing.

Tonight was about philia. Not Philadelphia, not philly cheese steak sandwiches, but philia. People loving people. People loving baseball. People loving a team. People giving time and money to sit in the rain and watch a bunch of guys swing at and catch a hard white ball. The Red Sox Foundation was there, actively soliciting for donations and with people waiting in line to give. It was a ballgame. In Boston. At Fenway Park. With tens of thousands of fans. And lots of great food. It was philia in action.

I, and thousands of other fans, saw the hot dog city and the bean city matching wills on an amazingly green field flooded in blindingly bright lights and surrounded with cheering people in layers of Red Sox logowear speaking with funny accents. All of this amazing view was shrouded in a continuous layer of mist that descended on the crazed crowd relentlessly all evening long. It was a wet game.

Yep, you got it. I was at Fenway Park watching the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Or, the beans and the hot dogs. Soggy beans and hot dogs, to be exact. Thankfully I had a raincoat and an umbrella and enough enthusiasm to not care if I was damp from head to toe, but the players were sopping. I made friends with the folks sitting around me. There were kids everywhere in literally layers of Sox logo wear - t-shirt, sweatshirt, rain/windbreaker, hat - it was something I had never really seen before. Great fans. Great spirit. Great accents!

I guess it kind of makes sense. It all goes together in some highly overthought way - typical "Jeannie-logic". Fundraising might be loosely described as beanraising, I suppose.

But everybody loves hot dogs, or at the very least an event that features them, like baseball. And almost everybody loves baseball. Everybody at this game tonight certainly loved baseball. We were sitting in the rain, watching two teams battle it out on that bright green field under the really bright lights and we were cheering and jeering and waving wet Red Sox foam fingers and loving every minute.

And just to maintain an even playing field, many of us ate pizza and philly steak sandwiches while watching the beantown favs and the hot doggers.

I love America. I love Beantown. I love Fenway Park. I love all the crazed fans. I love baseball. I love hot dogs. I love my family. I love my friends.

Friendship. Philia. Philanthropy.

Baseball. Mom. Apple pie.

Caring. Giving.

It all makes sense, in a "Jeannie-logic" kind of way - again. (I love being me.)

Back to the conference....(oh, and the Sox beat the Yankees)! Note that I could have said the Sox won the Yankees, but long ago my Dad asked me, after I said something similar (Frisbie JHS won Rialto JHS), "Oh, really, did they get to take them home then? Since they won them?"

No, it's not won, it's beat. (Which makes me always want to ask, "Oh really, did they leave bruises? Since they beat them?"

Semantics. Ok, enough of that. Dad was correct. I am silly. (Did I mention that I love being me?)

Now there is only one thing left to do....

PLAY BALL! Or back to the conference...and thinking about donors. Hmmm, aren't they kind of the same thing, in different venues....(And I would like extra green peppers and onions please, beans on the side. Thank you very much!)

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