Forget the bake sale or the boring old raffle, where you end up buying most of the tickets yourself, so as not to hassle your friends. Raising money for charity has reached new heights of creativity -- sometimes literally.
Take St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas. According to this article in The Wall Street Journal, Sister Jane Meyer, principal of the school, pledged to leap out of an airplane if students raised $25,000. The school held the traditional bake sales, raffles, auctions and community solicitations, and raised more than $88,000. So Meyer became a flying nun and made her first-ever airplane jump.
Americans gave record amounts to Haiti after the January earthquake, and according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, raised $250,000 for victims of the Chile earthquake within three days of the disaster. Much of the money comes from homegrown ingenuity, not necessarily from the wealthy. For instance, in The Wall Street Journal article, Jeff Winton, a dairy farmer from North Harmony, N.Y., was interviewed. He sold four cows and two bull calves for $4,000, which he donated to the Coalition for Haitian-American Empowerment.
With charitable giving down during the recession, it's heartening to witness the acts -- big and small -- of dedicated philanthropy.