**Elfenworks Foundation 2008 Holiday Newsletter**

**The Season of Giving...Fatigue**

'Tis that time of year again — the season of giving. With this
fall's stormy economic news, charitable giving may feel like the last
thing on your mind. But this is when non-profits need your generosity
more than ever. Thousands of NGOs are expected to quietly fade away in
the coming year. We hope that doesn't happen to the best of them.

"Almost giving" doesn't count. So, follow your bliss. It's the surest
way of avoiding compassion fatigue. The intrinsic feeling of wellbeing
that comes from doing good will be your reward. If you're looking for
some unique gift ideas, here are a few suggestions:

For a decidedly helpful corporate gift, order cookies or tamales from
Homeboy Industries <http://www.homeboy-industries.org/>
; the food is prepared by at-risk youths who are in Homeboy
Industries' job-training programs
Purchase a non-profit membership or sponsorship in your recipient's
name
Include charities on your own wish list; one easy way to let your
friends and family know what your favorite charities are is to use
Amazon.com <http://www.Amazon.com>
's universal wish list button
Clean out your closets and use eBay's Missionfish
<http://www.missionfish.org/>
to sell your items — you'll be helping a worthy charity without
having to actually write a check

Doing well by doing good — you'll thank yourself.

**Hope Takes Flight**

A special thanks to all of you who helped us celebrate the
contributions of Dr. Jack McConnell, founder of Volunteers in Medicine
<http://www.volunteersinmedicine.org/>
and Dr. Lois Lee, founder of Children of the Night
<http://www.childrenofthenight.org/>
at Hope Takes Flight <http://www.elfenworks.org/event_20080910.html>
in October. May their examples continue to inspire you all as we
approach a new year. What follows are a few snapshots from the
evening...

"We say, 'The poor will always be with us.' But what do we mean by
that? Do we say it with weary resignation? Do we use it as an excuse
for apathy and inaction — one of those eternal verities we can
shelter under in the face of sorrow and affliction, as long as it's
not our sorrow, our affliction? When we say, 'The poor will always be
with us,' do we see ourselves as simply facing the millions of our
fellow citizens? One out of eight of us live in a state of poverty as
defined by our own government, with 57 million more 'at risk.' Some 47
million of us, more than one out of six, have no access to basic
health care. Tens of millions of American children go to bed hungry
every night. Under the circumstances, 'The poor will always be with
us' is not an excuse for indifference. It is an indictment of
indifference. It is not a noble expression of weary resignation, but
rather a call to unblinkered recognition.

'The poor will always be with us' is a call to bear witness to the
realities, the miseries, and the costs of poverty. And to the
extraordinary people and organizations who help the poor and fight for
the poor...to their daily acts of conscience and courage, their
unswerving dedication to this elemental human cause. These are the
heroes. They remind us all that indifference is not an option...and
resignation is a flimsy disguise for laziness or cowardice. When they
hear 'The poor will always be with us,' they ask, 'Why?' They ask,
'Does it have to be that way?' They ask, 'What can I do, within my
talents and possibilities, to change that?'"

- Lauren Speeth, Hope Takes Flight, October 9, 2008

"Walking around the post-awards cocktail reception, one couldn't help
but look up at the museum's aircrafts overhead and draw comparisons to
the accomplishments of the night's honorees. McConnell and Lee
persisted in realizing their vision despite the naysayers, much like
aviation pioneers did a century ago. They are doing their part to
start a ripple; a ripple they hope will lead to the end of domestic
poverty."

- Adria Murray, San Mateo Daily News

"I wanted to write and again congratulate you and the entire staff at
Elfenworks on an incredibly inspiring evening at the Hope Take Flight
evening! You all "filled up the tanks" of those of us on the ground.
And better yet, the fuel you provided gets 365 days to the hour of
inspiration!"

- Paul Minorini, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Winner 2007 In Harmony with
Hope Award

**Social Justice Entrant Garners Best Picture Prize**

The 2008-2009 Campus MovieFest <http://www.campusmoviefest.com/>
and Campus MusicFest <http://www.campusmusicfest.com/>
competitions are well under way. The Elfenworks Foundation was
invited to take part in an evening honoring the winning entries in the
western regional competition. College students from the western
seaboard took part in this annual festival and were on hand to join in
the fun of seeing their winning films premiered.

As the sponsor of the Elfenworks Social Justice category, The
Elfenworks Foundation team was proud that the winning western regional
selection was an entrant in the Social Justice category. Hungry, the
creation of a team of San Jose State University students, is a
powerful film that makes a statement about the impact of war,
specifically as it relates to the homeless on our front doorsteps.
Vets make up only 11% of the general population, but they comprise 24%
of the chronically homeless. To see the film, visit
http://www.campusmoviefest.com/finale/wrgf/moviepages/hungry.htm
. The winner of the "Audience Choice" picture, Hands of Change, was
also entered into the student film festival as part of the Elfenworks
Social Justice category. The creative film demonstrates the power of a
simple idea, and can be seen at
http://www.campusmoviefest.com/finale/wrgf/moviepages/handsofchange.htm
.

**A Badge of Honor**

Mountain View, California's Computer History Museum was the site of a
distinctly techno-flavored happening the week of November 17 —
Mashup Camp. In keeping with its mission to be technology advocates
for the poor, The Elfenworks Foundation encouraged camp-goers to raise
awareness about domestic poverty by presenting the first-ever award
for Best Social Justice Mashup
<http://www.elfenworks.org/harmony_mashupcamp.html>
.

The Foundation was interested in encouraging technologists to use
their skills to create what we call "conscienceware,"
technology-driven products that aim to make the world a better place.
In this case, we were looking for mashups (digital media files
containing text, graphics, audio, video and animation drawn from
pre-existing sources) that were extensible to other scenarios, mashing
up other types of information, solving other problems, or hooking up
with other mashups in a "quilt" of solutions for poverty and
inequality.

Mike Grishaver took away the prize with his Poverty Awareness Badge,
a wide-reaching widget based on his SocialSite application that allows
organizations to feature a live newsfeed of YouTube content, twitters,
blogs and Delicious bookmarks of poverty-related content on their
websites. The winning mashup needs no programming — just a click on
a link of embed code and it's on your website. To see just how easy it
is to have your own Poverty Awareness Badge, go to
http://www.thingfo.com/socialsite
.

In speaking to the assembled self-professed geeks at Mashup Camp,
Elfenworks CTO John Watkins said, "We believe that social justice
mashups present an opportunity to go for a different kind of
wow-factor — the deep satisfaction of doing what you can do to make
a difference."