So what’s on my mind today? MegaMillions. It has now reached Blofeld proportions, with an estimated jackpot of Five Hundred MILLION Dollars. Half a BILLION dollars. More than the GDP of Dominica. So here’s where my imagination kicks in, calculating:
- twenty year payout = $25,000,000 a year
- After taxes of 50% = $12,500,000 a year.
What could I do with that windfall? Oh sure, there’s that dream house I created in the Fourth Grade, with the video arcade, mini-golf course, and various museum-quality collections of comics and other stuff. I’d probably build a variation on that idea, probably buying a warehouse somewhere.
Of course, I’d supplement my comics collection. Way back in 1990, I decided to collect towards one goal: conserving comics and graphic novels for an eventual special collection which would one day form the nucleus of a research collection somewhere. I’d probably buy a brownstone somewhere to house it, perhaps replicating what the James Beard Foundation does for cooking. And then I’d start thinking of other ways to bootstrap comics up to the level given to film, rock and roll, and other popular cultures which have gained acceptance and respect.
But my odds of wining the MegaMillions (or any lottery) are very slim. So, until I win a nice chunk of change (six digits or greater), I am going to make some suggestions on what others with disposable income (and/or leisure time) could do. Some ideas won’t require a lot of money, others would require periodic donations of small amounts (less than $1,000), and some, some would best be funded by an organization or non-profit foundation.
There are sources of funding out there right now. The Federal Government does offer grants via the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. There are similar programs at the state and local level. A few comics creators have sponsored comics-based initiatives, such as the Xeric Foundation. (This is not to disparage those well-to-do comics people who are not as visible. I know they support many projects within the comics community, and probably wish to remain anonymous, lest they become magnets for fortune seekers.)
Much has been written about how the Comics Economy has been somewhat recession proof, although discretionary spending has lessened recently. Kickstarter has taken the classic pass-the-hat model of fundraising, placing it online so that almost everyone can fund a project. The Hero Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund do the same face-to-face, hosting events at conventions, comics shops, and bars across the country.
I’m not an overnight sensation. (That requires a lot of hard work and a long time.) I’ll never have a hit movie or bestselling graphic novel. Instead, I am going to do what I can do with my meager resources: share my crazy thoughts and ideas with others. Like dandelion seeds, I will blow these seeds into the virtual jetstream of the Internet, and hope that one or two ideas reaches fertile ground. Perhaps someone will do the same, creating a dialogue, and possibly a THRUSH/SPECTRE/KAOS-type organization of masterminds intent on changing the world!
Future columns under this category will offer some simple ideas, some discussion, and possibly a few suggestions on how those ideas can be implemented.
In the meantime, what philanthropic spending would you do with your lottery winnings?