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About this project

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The Philanthropist's Stone

The Philanthropist Stone is a year long book project where my dog and I will be hitch hiking, couch surfing (staying on stranger's couches), and meeting with highly charitable individuals throughout the U.S. with the singular goal of discovering powerful strategies for making lasting, impactful improvements in the lives of others. 

The Author

My name is Alex Canby. I am a perpetual student and educator. I am passionate about learning, and have always loved sharing what I've learned with others. This internal drive for knowledge and growth has lead me to into many fields of study and training. 

  • Joined the US Army as an Infantryman at age 18. 
  • Worked as the official Kung Fu (and unofficial Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) instructor for Google. 
  • Was a financial planner with Citi for two years. 
  • Written two novels, and worked as an editor and writing coach.
  • Taught personal fitness for several companies in Silicon Valley. 
  • Worked as an artist and graphic designer.
  • Founded multiple mentoring programs at elementary and middle schools, as well as with Alternatives for Youth.
  • Coached couples and individuals in effective relationship building, communication techniques, and social dynamics.  
  • After giving away everything I own, I have hitch hiked and couch surfed across the US several times.

The Project

All giving is not created equal. Some methods are better than others when it comes to helping the people and the causes we care about. My journey through America is going to be an exploration into the practices of giving that truly make a difference.

I have chosen to hitch hike and couch surf throughout the year, so that I can travel inexpensively and have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of all the people I meet and who help me along the way.

The Method  

  • Interview and study people throughout America who have made a significant difference in the lives of individuals, communities or organizations and figure out how they did it.
  • I will be walking into at least one radio station in every major city I visit in order to find more people with insights that might further our understanding of effective philanthropy.
  • Keep everyone following my journey up to date so that you have the opportunity to help the people I meet who are dealing with exceptional challenges.
  • And finally, apply my creativity, insight and training to help as many people as I can during my travels.

Topics of Inquiry

  • Is there such a thing as giving too much?
  • Should you try and help those who need it, but don't want it?
  • Drawing the line between helping and creating dependency.
  • Identifying what charities will put your money to the best use.
  • Are there right and wrong reason to give?
  • Is one resource better than others: Time? Money? Connections? Etc.
  • How to get creative with philanthropy, and so much more.

You

I am reaching out to you for support so that I can make this journey, find and interview the people who have made meaningful contributions in big and small ways, have the interviews transcribed, write the book, have the book designed and printed, and send it to backers of the project. 

Conclusion

More than anything, The Philanthropist's Stone is going to be a guide book that will make it easier than ever to create significant positive change for the people and the causes you care about.

Further Involvement

If you have any ideas you'd like to share, stories of extraordinary kindness, or any desire to take a more active role in this project, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thank you so much.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name will go in the acknowledgements of the Book.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Digital copy! A PDF copy of The Philanthropist's Stone, and your name in the acknowledgements.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signed Copy of the Book! Your own soft cover copy of The Philanthropist's Stone, signed by the author.
    + PDF + Name in the acknowledgements.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    A signed copy of the book with international shipping.
    + PDF + Name in the acknowledgements.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Adventure Assignment! You get to assign me a task which I will have to perform on my travels, and will be consequently featured in a blog post (in picture, video or written form) and in the book. This assignment can be anything from ridiculous, to challenging, to embarrassing, or it can just be outright fun. Whatever you choose, it has to be plausible, mostly legal, and totally awesome.
    + Name in acknowledgements + PDF + Signed Book

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Volunteer Assignment! You identify a cause you care about and I will find a way throughout my travels to make a difference in that realm.
    + Name in the acknowledgements + PDF + Signed Copy of the Book

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Charity Assignment! You choose a charity within the continental U.S., and I will get in contact with them and figure out the most effective way I can help their cause. They'll be featured in the book.
    +Your name in the acknowledgements + PDF + Signed Book

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Publisher credit! If you want to support this project in a big way, I'll credit you as a publisher and send copies to ten people or institutions of your choosing.
    +Acknowledgements + PDF + Signed Copy of the Book + Assignment + I'll come visit you (Continental US only)

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Funding period

- (28 days)