Friday, June 11, 2004



When I profiled real estate magnate/casino owner Jason Foo in April, the wounded veteran of three conflicts ended his interview by directing me to the donation box behind the crap tables. This is where Jason was collecting Linden Dollars to send to New Directions, a support group for his fellow soldiers trying to make it in civilian life. As such, it's also the very first in-world fundraising drive designed to benefit a real world charity/non-profit; just before Memorial Day, I checked in with him, to see how it had been progressing, since then.

"Well," he tells me, "so far we have raised a little over US$200 for the veterans fund. I have made the donations over the web site-- we hold fundraisers for the veterans fund once a week. We usually bring in about 10-20K Linden [Dollars] a week in donations." [i.e., 40-80 USD.]

Tomorrow (Friday), he plans to host three days worth of events, concurrent with the re-opening of his casino in Albion. "It will be a huge ordeal, and we are unveiling a first in Second Life that no other casino or anyone else in SL has ever done before," he says, with characteristic Foo brio, "a new and exciting game that will bring everyone in Second Life to this place."

To handle these donations, he created a second account under the name veteransfund Best. (Over 150 residents have contributed something, so far.) "Plus," says Foo, "I added the veteransfund Best account to our land holder' [real estate] group, so one-fourth of our Dwell money is automatically donated." (Dwell is the metric by which Linden Lab determines popular areas, based on resident foot traffic; the higher the Dwell, the larger a Linden Dollar allowance the land holder gets, from the company.) The Linden Dollar value of his group's Dwell is "[A]bout L$150 a day," Foo says. "Not much, but it's a steady donation from the land." (About US$25 a month, actually.) "[O]nce we open up the new treehouse club in Jenner," Foo continues, "our Dwell will triple, and the skylounge [headed up by Kris Langdon] is a main contributor to the fund as well."

All told, then, this will average out to around US$300 per month, in donations. "We have had a couple slow weeks, though," he acknowledges. "I think just bad timing for the fund raisers. But in any case, we are on a good [track] to our goal of donating $1,000 USD this year."

That's the update to Jason Foo's fundraising drive. And the update on Jason Foo, and the kneecap that he largely lost to an exploding mine in Afghanistan?

"It acts up still," he says. "Oh yeah, I joined the Air Force. I went reserve. Good thing-- there is no inactive reserve any more. And I swore in one day before the inactives were activated. So I avoided being sent back to the sandbox."



"Oh, THAT sandbox!"

"Yep. I'm done. I'm going to college. I can do anything I set my mind to. Once I get my degree, after four years, I am going to be an officer in the Air Force." When I last spoke with him, he'd still been struggling to adjust to civilian life, and feared he never would. However, he says, "The Air Force allows me to remain in the military with close to no physical strain." And as luck would have it for him, no more trips to the sandbox.

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