Over the past year, I’ve been considering how Sharing the Dream could interest people in vigorously sharing a portion of their incomes to support our effort to produce an annual Martin Luther King holiday event. So far, we haven’t been successful in developing that interest, but, there is an interest in the annual event. Unfortunately, our ability to create a well produced event is hampered by a lack of ample funds. In addition, lack of ample funding to procure simple event necessities such as venue, insurance, promotion, sound equipment, etc., has caused us to cancel some of our past events.
We’ve been fortunate though over the years that Louie Ortega, Al “Shival” Redwine, Jill Knight, Guy Budd and many more like them donated their performances. Because of their generosity we’ve been able to entertain our audiences for almost two decades. We have also done our utmost to present an educational format in our productions with videos of Dr. King’s speeches and local speakers. With more funding, our educational format could be much improved. For example, at one of our events we were able for a nominal fee of $500 to welcome a speaker with historical significance in American history. Dr. Terrance Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine, the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was so well loved by our attendees that year that we asked him back for another visit. But we had a problem, he wanted his normal discounted rate of $1500, much more than our funding could afford. $1000-$5000 is not an uncommon request from such renowned people like Dr. Roberts.
So in considering our effectiveness or lack thereof to convince the community to donate vigorously to our efforts, a thought occurred to me. How can I ask others to donate their hard earned money to the effort, if I, the President of the organization am not donating my own hard earned money. I’ve always considered that giving my time and energy to the effort was enough, but not anymore. I am happy to report now, that for the past 5-6 months, I have been vigorously donating what I am able and comfortable with, to the cause. Through my online banking system, I have created an automatic weekly $25 donation to the Sharing the Dream organization. Now, I would like to ask anyone who might have a care about this organizations purpose and has the ability to match my own donation, please step up and be a donor.
Also, I have been doing some soul searching over the past few months and realized a concern. It is not enough for me any longer to just put forward an entertaining and educational program, though important enough. I also need to know that we are doing something tangible for the people in our community. So we have allied our organization with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. Our next event in January will help provide food to people who really need this help in communities all across our County. We will be donating 80 percent of the profit from the MLK event to fund the Food Bank.
I look forward to working with the Food Bank and invite you to be a volunteer, donor, sponsor, attendee or all of the above. Also, I want the Bearce Family, Ron, Leslie & Christina to know you are so appreciated for just always being there, I could not do this without you. A special thank you to Kim Harris, Carlton Brown Sr., Mark Welsh, Janine Holt and Patrick Germany for your support over the years. I apologize if you were not mentioned, there have been many volunteers over the past two decades and I appreciate you all!
Michael Lovegene Hedgecock
President & Founder of Sharing the Dream