Please help me do something nice for the Mongolians

I’ll first admit to you, dear reader, that  I am taking on this project out of personal curiosity and some wistful sense associated with a word which doesn’t exist in English but probably does in German or Russia.  The project, as you likely know, involves driving to Mongolia.  Assuming I don’t break an axle or come down with Bubonic plague after getting too close to a friendly marmot, I should accomplish this goal by the end of August.

That said, I’d like to do something nice for the Mongolians.  Much of the reason I’m doing this as part of an organized rally is the organizers recognize it is important to be contributing something to Mongolia and also enforces rules to prevent useless vehicles from being dumped in the country and the use of small (1.2 litre or less) engines–mostly because it is funny, but smaller engines tend to be a bit more efficient.

From what I can discern, from this side of the planet, Mongolia is a beautiful place full of people who have struggled in the past two decades with the collapse of the Soviet Union (a trading partner once responsible for 80% of their trade and almost all development) and moving to a market economy which has less to do with yaks and more to do with urbanization, privatized state enterprises, and burning coal.  As people are driven, often by economic necessity, to the city and a lot of foreign investment is focused upon  mineral extraction, a lot of bad things are happening to people.  With all that said, livestock production remains vitally important and the 2010 winter wiped out 8,000,000 heads of livestock— this in a country of about 3,000,000 people.

So, what is the deal?   I’ll be donating the 2005 Fiat Panda to The Christine Noble Children’s Fund, a group that does a lot with children in and near Ulaanbaatar, specifically with education, medical, and nutritional support.

I’m also planning to raise money to donate  to Mercy Corps, an organization focused on sustainable development initiatives in rural areas— when you look at Mongolia on map, except for one or two dots, you’re looking at some of the most rural and low population density country that side of Greenland (and Greenland’s not a nation-state.)

How can you help me do something nice for the Mongolians?  There are a few ways:

  1. You could click and donate directly to Mercy Corp.  This is a reasonable way to go and requires a credit card, I’m pretty sure if you’re into this sort of thing and live in the United States, you can deduct this from your federal taxes as a charitable contribution.  Note, however, that because I’m using a free secure site for the transaction, there are some transaction costs, I think about 5%, which you can opt to absorb or pass-on with the transaction.
  2. If you’re feeling more adventurous, trust me not to run off your money after returning in September, and want to gamble a bit on the amount, you can pledge on a per mile basis by filling out this form.  If you go this route, I won’t be collecting until the first week of September, and you’ll have an opportunity to donate directly to the charities via credit card or to me by cash or check– I will aggregate this and cover any transaction costs out-of-pocket, so you will know that 100% of your donation was split 50-50 between these two charities.  I don’t know if the IRS will let you deduct this as it goes through a third-party, if this is important to you, I can figure this out.
Thanks very much!  Even if you aren’t inclined to or in a position to donate, you got this far and I appreciate your consideration and your support!

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