Make-a-Wish Fundraiser – Open Letter

Recently it came to my attention that the ethics and procedures of the Make-a-Wish Celebrity Charity Auction had been called into question in a recent blog post. Since I am certain there are other individuals with similar thoughts or questions, I wanted to post our response here for anyone that may be interested in reading. As noted in the post below, I encourage anyone with questions to contact a member of the Studio Red team.

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As the owner of Studio Red, and the organizer of the Make-a-Wish Celebrity Charity Auction (conducted as part of the Stylista Festival organized by RubyStarlight Writer) referenced in Harper’s original post, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide readers, especially those who have commented, with additional information about this event with the goal of clarifying event procedures and the overall validity of the event.

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“Upon request, the address of the charitable organization can be provided and a means of contacting them so there is proof that they have approved of the charitable event and use of their logo for such.”

The Stylista Festival, benefiting the Make-a-Wish Foundation (Foundation) was done with the full approval of the Foundation. RubyStarlight Writer worked closely with Assistant General Counsel, to address the logistics of this event. When approached to conduct the auction portion of the event, Studio Red, in conducting its due diligence, spoke directly to the Foundation representative confirming that (a) the Foundation was in fact aware of this event, that (b) RubyStarlight Writer was the official coordinator for the event in Second Life (SL) as well as additional topics.

The use of the Foundation logo was done so with full approval of the Foundation, with each marketing piece being approved by Foundation counsel prior to distribution in SL.

Contact information for Assistant General Counsel can and will be provided upon request.

“A separate avatar made solely for the purpose of gathering donations and accounting for those donations. The donations should NOT go to a private avatar.”

To manage financial contributions, a unique avatar, Wish Sharple, was created by RubyStarlight Writer to collect contributions for the series of events. For the auction alone, it was Studio Red’s decision to collect payment directly in order to verify actual payment received for auctionees.

Our decision to collect money directly is supported by a very detailed accounting (Excel spreadsheet) of monies paid by auction winners corresponding with monies paid to Wish Sharple. The transactions have been reviewed and verified by both Studio Red and RubyStarlight Writer. Any auction winner can receive a receipt upon request – several are in progress with the Donor Care Team of the Foundation at present date.

“An accounting of the donated items that have been provided with an estimated value. This includes designs OR performances. This is so we ALL know that the content providers’ time and efforts are being matched at least minimally with donated money.”

While it is standard practice to provide estimated values for goods and services for tax reporting purposes (to donors) and a letter acknowledging receipt of goods/services/time, it is not standard practice to provide an event summary report with the content referenced above to any party other than a Board of Directors or internal sub-committee as appointed by the Board of Directors. Aside from this, due to the unique economy of SL, disparity will always exist between the value of goods and/or services and the amounts paid (or not paid) for them during a charity fundraising event. When a designer or performer donates his/her services, time or products, he/she does so with the full knowledge that full retail value may not be received via donations.

“Information about how one can contact the organization for a receipt if the donation exceeds $25 USD.”

Contact information for the Assistant General Counsel for the Make-a-Wish Foundation will be provided to any auction winner requesting such. As previously mentioned, receipts are in progress (managed by the Donor Care Team for the Foundation) for several transactions and are available to any donor who requests such.

“Am I *positive* that she will turn over all monies collected?”

All event donors, including auction winners, can rest assured that all monies collected during the Stylista Festival will in fact be delivered to the Foundation. Since the Foundation is the official owner of the Wish Sharple avatar, technically they are already in possession of all funds raised. Confirmation of funds received will be provided by the Foundation and made available to donors at such time the withdrawal is completed.

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In closing, I just want to say that the charity auction and the entire Stylista Festival to benefit the Foundation was a tremendous undertaking for all parties involved. Countless hours were devoted to the most minute of details and every effort was made to ensure that the events raised the bar for charitable activities in SL. For those individuals who have questions, comments or suggestions, I welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter further and can be reached in-world or via email (listed in in-world profile).

Sincerely,

Xochi Tolsen
Studio Red

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~ by studioredevents on January 5, 2009.

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