Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A RESCU Donation

The following was posted to The Bristol Discussion Board, a forum for everyone and anyone involved with or interested in the Bristol Renaissance Faire, by my brilliant colleague and friend Chris Major, and I am compelled to share it with you.

I realize you are all probably a little numb from being dunned by charities at year’s end - well, here’s one more.

For over 6 years, RESCU Foundation, Inc. (Renaissance Entertainers, Services and Crafters United) has been helping our community, all across the country, with medical expenses. As of last month we have helped over 400 individuals, disbursed over $300,000 in direct aid, and our 2-year-old Advocacy Program has relieved over $1.2 million in medical debt for individuals (as in getting the facility to reduce or completely drop medical charges). Our Wellness Program has sponsored CPR/First Aid training and medical screenings (mammography, prostate) for members of our community. And our constituency is comprised of anyone who has worked at a Renaissance Faire/Festival/Historical Reenactment, etc. That means that many of you on the Bristol Board are eligible for RESCU assistance. There are people on this board that
have been helped by RESCU.

I attended a nonprofit conference this last spring and found out we are very unusual in the nonprofit world: We are still all-volunteer; we have kept our annual expenses to less than 10% of income; we normally make an assistance decision within weeks of an application submission; our financial assistance amount, as a percentage of the total bills, is usually higher than other similar nonprofits; our constituency is spread across the country and tends to be nomadic, as is most of the board of directors (most of the conference attendees represented a constituency in a single city or even a neighborhood); the entire board meets face-to-face only once a year; . . .

You get the idea - we don’t really fit the mold. My most frequently asked question was, “How do you do that?” That was the same thing that other board members found when they attended a conference in California last year with heavy-hitters in the entertainment industry. Like the Actor’s Fund, Will Rogers Institute, SAG. They were incredulous that we disbursed as much as we did per case, and how quickly we did it.

RESCU is pretty special.

So, if you have a few extra bucks that you don’t know where to put, we’d appreciate your consideration. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation, so any donations are fully tax deductible (to the extent individually allowed by law). You can donate online or by mail; it’s all easily done by looking at the
donation page on our website.

All of us at RESCU thank you very much.

And PLEASE, if you have need of medical financial assistance (or know a rennie that does), contact us. We have a toll-free phone number, you can email us, you can download an application from the website. All information is confidential and we are HIPAA-compliant. We want to help if we can.

RESCU website

Chris Major aka “banjo”
for RESCU: Board Member, Vice President, Governance Committee Chairman, Tech Monkey
The need is always great, but at this time of year, the want is always felt more keenly. Consider making a donation to RESCU in lieu of buying Stuff for gifts this year. The Renaissance Faire entertainer, service provider or crafter you help may be your favorite, or may be someone you've never met, but you can make such a difference in people's lives simply by giving.

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