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b2ap3_thumbnail_mariposa.jpgIn researching my timeline of Philanthropy in Pop Culture, I came across a real gem of a short story: The Whirlwind Campaign in Mariposa. It was written by Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944) in 1912 as part of the collection Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. It's a tale of a small town trying to emulate a fundraising activity witnessed by one of their own in the big city. Their version has all of the trappings and none of the substance. Fundraisers today will recognize many of the characters in the story.

"… Mullins got up again, and beat on the table for silence and made one of those crackling speeches—just the way business men speak—the kind of speech that a college man simply can't make. I wish I could repeat it all. I remember that it began: 'Now boys, you know what we're here for, gentlemen,' and it went on just as good as that all through. When Mullins had done he took out a fountain pen and wrote out a cheque for a hundred dollars, conditional on the fund reaching fifty thousand. And there was a burst of cheers all over the room.

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Just for fun, I've put together an incomplete survey of the various ways that fundraising and philanthropy have been represented in popular culture. We fundraiser's don't always get portrayed in a positive light and police procedurals sure do like to have a corpse at a charity gala!

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