Autumn is a time of harvest. In the northern hemisphere, the months of September, October, and November are often seen as a time for reflection and preparation. It is the time of realization – the crops are brought in, the ground is prepared for the next spring, and the old year is winding down.

I want to use this harvest image to talk with you about our year-end matching campaign.

This year, the TIRF Trustees have pledged to match donations given to the Foundation between now and December 8th, up to a total of USD 15,000. Collectively, they have contributed $15,000 of their own resources to meet this goal. Now it is up to the rest of TIRF supporters to help us claim that wonderful gift. Please will you help?

I am not great at math, but 15,000 is a nice round number. We could reach that goal if three people each gave $5,000. But let’s face it – almost all of TIRF’s stakeholders are involved in the profession of language education in some way, so it is unlikely that many would have that much extra cash available as disposable income, especially in this uncertain time of the worldwide pandemic.

There might be five people who could give $3,000 apiece, but do they know about our fund drive? Are they aware of what TIRF does? How can I locate them and convince them to donate?

I imagine there are probably 15 people who could give $1,000 apiece, and I fully expect there are 30 people somewhere in the world who could each give $500. Surely there are one hundred people who could all give $150. I could continue the math to amounts of $20, $15, or even $10 – and I would still be very grateful for any contribution, no matter how small it might seem to you.

In my Chair’s Report for July 2011, I shared the story of “Stone Soup.” In brief, it is a folktale about three travelers who came to a village. They were poor and hungry, so they built a fire and put water into a large kettle positioned above the flames. Each of the travelers put a stone into the kettle. The villagers were curious and a woman asked them, “What are you doing?” One traveler explained that they were making stone soup, but it would certainly taste better if they could add an onion. The villager was fascinated. She went to her house and returned with an onion, which the travelers gratefully added to the kettle. Then, one of them said that this would be a wonderful soup, but it would be even better if they had a potato to add to it. A child ran home and came back with a potato to contribute to the soup. An old man brought a carrot from his garden. Eventually, the villagers became so interested that they offered other vegetables and someone even brought a loaf of bread for the travelers to share.

It is an old story but the moral still holds true: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What we can accomplish together for TIRF is much greater than what the Trustees alone can do, no matter how hard they work or how much time they contribute as volunteers.

To return to my seasonal theme, whether it is the time for harvesting vegetables and making soup, or a time for requesting donations, I want to wish you good fortune and good health.

To celebrate the season, Ryan Damerow has posted a beautiful banner on TIRF’s home page, showing a basket overflowing with fruit and vegetables. If you click on the basket, you will see a bar graph indicating how close we are to our goal of raising fifteen thousand dollars. Please do consider donating to TIRF this year – click here to send a gift today.

Thank you, in advance, for any support you may be able to provide to help us meet our goal.