One Fund Boston: Lessons From Public Radio

Sales for Neil Diamond's “Sweet Caroline” are up by 597 percent a week after the bombings last week. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
Weekly sales for Neil Diamond's '“Sweet Caroline”' are up by 597 percent after the bombings. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Last Saturday, sometime after Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz dropped an F-bomb and before Neil Diamond sang 'Sweet Caroline', I slipped out of my seat in Fenway Park's grandstand to visit the team shop across Yawkey Way. My boyfriend had given me his tickets to the game and he'd requested a B Strong hat in return.

The kid behind the register was wearing a B Strong cap of his own, so I simply pointed at his head.

"How many?" he asked.

A poster behind the register told me that they were selling for just $20 each. It seemed like a bargain. Plus, all the proceeds would go to the One Fund Boston, a charity set up by the City of Boston to benefit the families most affected by the bombings at the marathon.

"Two," I told him.  Before we even left the gift shop, I asked my friend to snap a pic of me in my snazzy new hat for Facebook.

Me and my new hat.
Me and my new hat.

The last time I looked, The One Fund had raised $23,911,456.  That number grows every time I refresh my browser.  A friend invested $5 for a Saucony #BostonStrong shoelace medallion. Many storefronts in Watertown's Arsenal Mall, now memorable as the media staging area during the manhunt for the second bombing suspect, offer more ways to support the One Fund.

Those B Strong hats weren't even the first purchases I had made to support the victims of the marathon bombings. Two days earlier a friend had alerted me to the Adidas tribute tee, which also benefited the One Fund. It was hideously bright yellow and cost just $26.20. (Get it? The marathon is 26.2 miles long.)

I do not look good in bright yellow. This might just be the most unflattering T-shirt I've ever purchased. But, I would have gladly paid twice as much for the privilege of showing my support to the city I've come to love. My public radio job exists, in part, because people are willing to spend $75 for a coffee mug or a tote bag, but I'd never rooted this hard for a fundraiser to succeed.

This afternoon I got an email from Adidas, saying that more than $1 million had been raised through the sale of that hideously bright yellow t-shirt and the less hideously bright blue men's version.  How much would Adidas have raised if they had taken a cue from public radio and charged $117 to honor the number times the Boston Marathon has been held? Or $361, for the number of days between today and the 118th running of the race?

I would have still bought the shirt. I might have even bought two.

This program aired on April 25, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Karen Given Executive Producer/Interim Host, Only A Game
Karen is the executive producer for WBUR's Only A Game.



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