A Little Money Can Do a Lot of Good

By James Fallows

I don't want to set a precedent of becoming a venue for fund-raising appeals. There are too many deserving candidates. But on a one-time basis, the note I received today from Len Edgerly, of the Kindle Chronicles, seems to me so sensible, and so modest in its needs, that it is worth sharing -- especially at a moment when many people are thinking about ways to mend the civic fabric. Edgerly writes:

>>I'm looking for potential major donors to E-Books for Troops (EB4T), a 501(c)(3) that I co-founded in 2010.

It turns out that e-readers are a fantastic technology for support of soldiers in the field, giving them access to virtually unlimited reading material in a lightweight device, for use on duty and for recreation in downtime.

Having no military experience myself, I partnered with a former Army artillery officer, Ken Clark, whom I met through my Kindle Chronicles podcast, in order to create EB4T. We have collected tax-deductible donations of cash and used Kindles through our web site, http://EBooksForTroops.org and have so far distributed 20 Kindles to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our goal for 2011 is to raise $20,000 enabling us to distribute 120 more Kindles to soldiers.

I thought you might know of a family foundation or other funder that focuses on support for troops, or perhaps a Kindle enthusiast or two at the Pentagon who might want to contribute and help spread the word.<<

american-solider-reading-normandy.jpgI don't really know of anyone in the categories Edgerly mentions, but I encourage people who might, or who would like to contribute themselves, to contact him: Len <at> ebooksfortroops.org. And FYI, part of their mission statement -- which is also the source of the photo of a GI reading at Normandy:

>> Our soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors make innumerable sacrifices to protect our freedoms and way of life. When deployed, our troops must find a way to live in environments that at best, offer few of the "creative comforts" of life at home and do so while being extremely limited in the personal items they can bring with them overseas.

Additionally, an aspect of a deployed soldier's life that is commonly overlooked is that he, or she, must also find ways to pass the downtime that inevitably occurs during a deployment. It probably comes as no surprise then, that reading has always been one of the primary activities of our troops as they rest and renew for what lies ahead.

With that said, there's a problem - books take up a significant amount of space! For obvious reasons, it would be extremely challenging for any military to build or bring a "field library" during an overseas deployment. Instead, it is common for soldiers to rotate books from person to person and to read the same book multiple times during a single deployment as a way to pass the time and get a break from the stresses inherent in their profession.<<

I first met Edgerly decades ago, and while I haven't seen him in many years I know enough about him to vouch for his integrity and purpose.


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/a-little-money-can-do-a-lot-of-good/69160/