Mister D: I just love Amy Sedaris and am so happy she is doing this. I’ve noticed this “classicism” trend growing for quite awhile. When I read that Bette Midler was going to participate in it AND be a board member, well, that was the icing on the cake. I hope this charity takes off and I know I’ll be putting my two cents (okay, dollar) in – by the way, this is one of the most fun and original press releases I’ve read in a long time:
Author, Actress Amy Sedaris Announces Plans for New Web-Based Charity in 2008
New York, New York — December 9, 2007 (PRINSIDE) – New York-based entertainment personality Amy Sedaris, the well-known actress and comedienne and author of the New York Times best-selling cookbook “I Like You: Entertaining Under the Influence,” (Grand Central, $27.95), announced plans today to launch an Internet-based charitable foundation designed to meet the growing needs of an American society in which the gap between rich and poor grows wider each passing day.
The charity, tentatively named “Purple Candy,” will seek to use the Internet to enlist 2,000 or more Americans to commit to having $1 deducted from their checking accounts each week to be given to small groups or organizations around the country that have little or no access to larger charitable foundations.
‘It’ll be like a big fun charitable club, with me as the Queen Bee,” explains Sedaris with her trademark grin. “To be honest, people just love it when I boss them around and I’ve learned I have to go with that. Honest, it’s true, and I can’t emphasize that point strongly enough. Different people have different gifts, and that one happens to be mine. Well, you’ll see.” Among well-known individuals already eager to sign on as Candy board members are celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Stephen Colbert, Kristin Chenoweth, Lama Surya Das, Bette Midler,
Warren Buffett, Aaron Sorkin, Sassafrassy, Cher and others.
“I see bad things happening every day and I say to myself, ”˜I wish I could change that,” says Sedaris, a former Girl Scout who is perhaps best-known for her high-profile role this year as the voice of Cinderella in the film Shrek the Third– and as the star of the award-winning Comedy Central sitcom ‘Strangers with Candy.’ “Then I realized that I can.”
According to Sedaris, close celebrity friends such as Parker, Colbert, Todd Oldham, David Letterman, Nathan Lane, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Short, Martha Stewart, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick, some of them inspired by the advice found in Teri Hatcher’s memoir “Burnt Toast,” soon to come to life as a Lifetime dramedy, have long been urging her to follow such a charitable path.
“Political candidates such as Hillary Clinton have been focusing on plans to narrow the huge and growing wide gap in personal income in America,” says Sedaris. “Well, as an individual I may not have the ability to change that huge income gap — but I certainly do have the ability to exploit it, particularly with the growing ease of transporting money around the Internet. And what I realized about money is this: You don’t have to rent any office space to store it. So there’s no overhead. It’s just there and you can zip it around and do good things with it almost as if you were a Shrek princess for real. And wouldn’t that just take the cake!”
The charity will reach out to small social clubs and charitable organizations nationwide “like a hand of mercy reaching down from the sky,” according to Sedaris. “I’m not a big fan of bureaucracy and paperwork, so instead of having an application process for funds, I will be reaching out to find them myself. Because if it involved bureaucracy and paperwork, I wouldn’t be interested. I just wouldn’t. Because life is too short for that. But make it easy and fun for me, and I’m there. And I know you’re the same way. You’re there too.”
If all goes as planned, helping Sedaris with the organization and ongoing operation of the venture will be Deb Hopp and Vance Opperman of Minneapolis, while its pro-bono legal advisor will be local attorney David Morehouse. “I’ve had great luck in Minneapolis in the past as has Larry Craig. And so we are both confident that this venture will have a ‘happy ending.’ Although actually Larry is not really involved with this, he’s basically just a metaphor. But if he wanted to become involved, well, he sure could be. Because he’s not only a U.S. Senator, but a gay icon just like myself.” Additionally, to make the project a complete success, other offers of assistance must come from Betty Cohen, Susanne Daniels, feminist Gina Barreca, Jessica Rovello, Kenny Rosenblatt, and Marc Shaiman, who has offered to record a theme song for the group.
Although Sedaris has her own religious beliefs, she plans to keep the charity non-denominational and focus the giving on individuals and groups whose thinking is Pooh-inspired.
“Pooh has a whole philosophy of life, and it has been fairly clearly delineated with the help of Piglet, Eeyore and the Owl. I won’t waste space explaining it here, but you can read about it all on the Internet if you like, and you should believe everything you read.” “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff and “Pooh and the Philosophers” by John Tyerman are also recommended reading.
Concludes Sedaris: “Listen, I’m no Erin Brockovich. I’m no Madame Curie. I’m not even Joan of Arc. Nor am I the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. I’ve been told I’m a few cards short of a full deck. Whatever. We both know they’re wrong, don’t we? (We do!) And what I DO know what to do is how to have a good time, and to have fun while doing some good deeds, well, that’s what we over here call a righteous two-fer. It’s basically a charitable jackpot and a lot of people are going to want to dive into this jackpot with me and have some good times. And I am not averse to chartering some local chapters led by people with the right spirit. As long as they remember who’s the boss.”
According to Sedaris and others involved in the planning process, the key to the success of Candy will eliminating the infrastructure cost to process electronic payments. To that end, Sedaris will be relying on the help of experts like Scott Beck of Cornerworld, Donald Raleigh of Evolve Systems, Nancy Loomis of First Data, Rene Pelegero at Paypay, Ralf Schwoebel of Tradebit , Ted Leonsis and Steve Case of Revolution Money, and of course the Google Boys — Sergey Brin and Larry Page — and David Drummond, Jonathan Rosenberg and Elliot Schrage at Google Checkout.
“I’m a Big Picture Girl,” says Sedaris with a wink. “You probably read that article by Amy Hertz last month in ‘O, The Oprah Magazine,’ right? The one that explained the four types of people there are? Well, I’m the fourth type: the Intuiter. And we ”˜Intuiters’ really know the Big Picture. Trust me on this. Because we do.”
Armed with a large list of influential friends, a fiercely loyal fan base that is almost cult-like in its admiration, and her own quirky belief-based brand of personal humor and life philosophy that almost defies explanation or even common sense, Sedaris says she has no doubts that the charity project will be a success.
“Remember those dudes from Halloween who took over Christmas that one year? Well it will go down just like that. Real nice and real smooth.”
Sedaris anticipates that among the first donors of seed money to the fledgling charity will be Citicorp’s Charles Prince. Says Sedaris: “He’s a dude who likes to pay it forward.” Microsoft’s Bill Gates had also been under consideration for a spot on the board, according to Sedaris, ‘but he and his wife are busy working on a second child. And by that I mean they are really, really busy in the bedroom.- According to sources involved in the planning, Warren Buffett has been targeted to take the board spot vacated by Gates. “And by targeted, I’m not talking about any ”˜Fatal Attraction’ kind of stalker action where he’s Michael Douglas and I’m Glenn Close. We’re just planning on asking him nicely. To start with, at least. If you know what I mean.”
Examples of the type of smaller off-the-map entities that might receive donations from such a charity include local animal shelters nationwide; the American Legion Post of Gardiner, Maine, which is now experiencing a cribbage crisis; the Brotherhood of Huntingdon Street in Philadelphia; the New Milford Food Bank in Connecticut; or Big Brothers and Sisters chapters such as the one in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“And maybe even some of those people who rent apartments from A-Rod,” says Sedaris.
Purple Candy Organization, Inc.
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