Challenge (Silently) Accepted

For a couple of weeks now, I have been seeing people post videos of doing the “Ice bucket challenge” which is a way the ALS Association has increased awareness of the disease and the need to raise money for research and treatment. They’ve done a great job in doing both, raising millions of dollars with this one campaign than anything they’ve been able to do in the past for themselves, and that is awesome.

This “challenge” was given to me and Wil by our friend, Rileah Vanderbilt, who, in her own video, acknowledged the drought we are currently living in and instead used a bucket of pool water before being shoved into that pool by a friend. I accepted the challenge by silently donating to the organization but I didn’t make a video about it, and that’s ok.

I understand the entire country isn’t in a drought. I live in California, which is a desert that is experiencing a pretty bad drought so we need to conserve our water. So much so that our city is issuing tickets if sprinklers are running on days not designated for your zone, and our local car washes are required by law to use reclaimed water to clean cars. I understand that this ice bucket challenge is the equivalent of one showers’ worth of water, but when thousands of people are doing that, it makes me cringe to watch it. I would rather use that water for an actual shower anyway. But that doesn’t mean I don’t support an organization that has desperately needed a way to bring awareness and funding to them, in case that isn’t clear.

Wil and I donate thousands of dollars every year to charitable organizations, we just don’t advertise it because we are asked dozens of times a day on Twitter to donate/support/retweet/make a video for a charity thing that someone is supporting. It isn’t that we don’t care, it’s just that publicizing support of one thing opens the door to attacks from others on why we aren’t supporting a cause that someone else is supporting.(Yes, that happens ALL the time.)  I have learned that I can make more of an impact by focusing on a few charities that mean a lot to me personally, and do as much as I can to help them. And along the way, when a friend or a family member is supporting a cause that means something to them, I donate to that as well.

Supporting charities is a wonderful way to give help and hope to others, or to support an organization that is helping you or someone you love through a difficult time. We have done it for years, and will continue to do so. If you haven’t before, it’s never too late to start. You’ll be glad you did, even if you don’t make a video about it.



9 thoughts on “Challenge (Silently) Accepted

  1. Great post! I agree… I cringe when I see water being wasted like that, drought or no drought, fresh water can be put to a better use. Plus I do wonder how the bucket challenge actually gets them donations – I know many of my friends who have done the challenge but not donated any money to the charity. Some of them just wanted to do the challenge, some were actually aware of the reason for the challenge but most didn’t donate. I was nominated and did the same as you – I donated some money.

  2. Thanks for donating! A relative of mine suffered from ALS for over ten years until she passed a few years ago. At the beginning I liked the idea of raising awareness through the ice bucket challenge, but now I see a lot of people doing the challenge without knowing what charity it is about. I really hope at least a few people will take some time and read about ALS (for example on or maybe donate.

  3. Great response! No one should feel obligated to respond to a challenge by dumping water on their heads whether or not they are experiencing a drought or not. While I understand the “virality” of the challenge draws attention and, in theory, funds to ALS research organizations, donating money/time/resources is no less valuable because you did not make a video. It is understandable not wanting to make your altruistic efforts known simply because of the fear of inundated requests, but even without that possibility you should never have to justify why you do not want to do anything publicly. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a jerk.

  4. Donating to charity is a fabulous thing when given freely. I cannot support all the good causes that I care about (I’d be broke), but I give regularly to three that are dear to my heart. Big support drives like the one for ALS are brilliant at raising some awareness, but if you donate to one of the many Water Aid charities for people in drought regions who have, if they have any water at all, only filthy water – it feels somewhat distasteful.

    Shaming famous or internet famous people when they don’t follow a passing trend (and the ALS ice trend will pass) is vile.

    Giving (in any way, shape or form) is a great reward in and of itself, publicity of gift not required to make you feel good about yourself.

  5. I agree that, while a worthwhile effort, this is a colossal waste of water. And I also agree that donating to causes near & dear to one, like your voting record, is private. Best work is done quietly behind the scenes.

  6. Good piece Anne – and a reminder that we all should support the good causes we want to support. Being ‘famous’ should not make that different.

  7. I also agree with what others have said that every person, has a responsibility to donate to charities they feel strongly about or have a personal connection to (either donating their time and/or money). I do, however, find it extremely aggravating whenever a person of celebrity status feels compelled to make a public announcement of all the wonderful things they have done for charity. It leaves me feeling like they think everyone should give them a pat on the back for being so generous. Seriously? Is it really necessary for the ego to be on 24/7 that they can’t even do one nice thing for someone without all of the party streamers & confetti flying out of their butt? I know people that have dedicated their lives to causes & people in need and you would never even know it—recognition is not the reason they do it and it never should be.

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