Journalbooks Aims To Raise $1 Million For Chinese Quake Victims
“We got some people together and we had some raised eyebrows—like, ‘Are you kidding?’ But you know what? You don’t know until you try,” said Tom O’Boyle, president of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based Journalbooks. O’Boyle was referring to the company’s new web-based fundraising effort—Promotional People Care—to help the injured, displaced and homeless victims of the May 12 earthquake that struck China’s Sichuan province. According to the Federal Way, Washington-based World Vision agency, one of O’Boyle’s partners in the effort, the 7.9 magnitude quake killed 70,000 and left approximately five million people homeless.
“This earthquake was so quick, nobody had put anything together to help,” said O’Boyle “And the need was so urgent. I thought, you know what, we can do it.” Specifically, what O’Boyle hopes to do through the creation of a fundraising Web site (www.promotionalpeoplecare.org), is rally the energy and caring of the promotional products industry—one he notes has many ties to the Chinese people through both business and personal relationships. “We’re hoping that the generosity of our industry will come together so powerfully that it will make an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of our Chinese friends. We need to show them what kind of people we are, we’re not just capitalists,” explained O’Boyle.
The site itself, developed largely through donated time and effort, provides information on the earthquake and directs people to donate through either the World Vision organization or through the American Red Cross, who in conjunction with The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, called for a total funding effort of $19.3 million.
O’Boyle hopes the site will raise $1 million, a figure that would go a long way in reaching the Red Cross’ goal. Such an accomplishment, O’Boyle feels, would serve to both provide aid as well as improve relations with a country and people that for only the first time have accepted outside assistance in the face of a natural disaster. “We hope that it is going to help thousands of families. But we also hope that it will communicate to the Chinese people that they are not just a place to source less-expensive products, but part of a global family,” continued O’Boyle.