If you've seen the movie Toy Story 3, then you're familiar with the part where Barbie and Ken meet for the first time and then say, "It's like we were made for each other."
Well that's how Writing and Philanthropy are, too - made for each other. On the one hand, you've got writing. In a way, writing is a dialogue that a person enters into with the world. On the other side of things is philanthropy, an act of dialogue with the world that a person enters into in an attempt to bring about positive change.
Many publishing houses are philanthropic and have causes that they support. Individual writers have causes that they support as well. My own personal quest for several months has been to find a good diabetes charity organization to work with. I didn't know where to begin. I'm fairly new both to writing and to philanthropy, so I expected to just pick out a charity organization, say "I'm a writer" and be directed to an author liaison, or something of the sort. How wrong I was! I cam to find that this is not in fact how things work in the real world.
After tirelessly searching and feeling like I'd just been calling out into a void (a lot of the writing process tends to feel like that) I finally gave up my ego and posted the question up on an author discussion group that I'm a part of. One of my author friends quickly replied, directing me to author Brenda Novak, who runs a huge online auction supporting diabetes research. I sent Brenda Novak an e-mail, with a bit of trepidation since she's a big-name author and I'm (Eep!) just Leslie. But Brenda Novak wrote back to me that same day.
The reason I chose diabetes as my own little philanthropic "pet project" is that my stepfather, Richard A. Anderson, died from diabetes back in 2002. So to me, supporting the cause of diabetes philanthropy is like a personal vendetta against my stepfather's killer. Also, it's an act that's opening my heart as well.
Check out the Brenda Novak Online Auction at http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com - the site will go live on May 1st.
And check out my stepfather's novel, The Temple of the Heart!!!