Creative COW - Year 10
COW Library : Business & Career Building : Ron Lindeboom : Creative COW - Year 10
In April of 2010, we enter the 10th year of Creative COW. As we near this milestone, we felt that it was the logical time to open yet another chapter in the Creative COW story, one that we feel is the logical next step for The COW. We are launching a new charitable foundation, one that focuses on assisting students. After all, many have helped us to build the dream we had, and so we want to lend a hand to some of those who are struggling to follow their own dreams.
To celebrate our 10th year online, we are launching a new 501(c)3 federally registered non-profit foundation whose mission is to provide financial scholarships and grants to students in the fields of film, television and media studies. Our educational grants will focus on programs that assist both students from the USA and from around the world. The first such institution to receive a check for $10,000 from the Creative COW Foundation is the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women program.
Why did we choose this program as our first recipient? In the formative early days of Creative COW, it was founded and managed by my wife, Kathlyn Lindeboom. Creative COW was a female-owned business, and because of this, Adobe Systems approached us at a critical time and reached into a grant program mandated to go to a female-owned business. It kept Creative COW alive at a time when it likely would have failed without it.
Today, we are a California registered LLC, and though the company has changed over the years and has seen our membership increase into the millions each month, you do not forget things like that which Kristan Jiles and the Adobe team did all the way back in the Summer of 2001.
It happened again in 2002, when we were under an attack on our server that took us offline for most of two weeks. We didn't know how to fight it and we didn't have the money to hire security experts to do the work for us. So we wrote our leaders to tell them that we were going to close the book on Creative COW. But when we did, we received an email from one of the leaders -- Jason Howard of SpectSoft -- who told us that he knew how to help us, and that he would. He brought in his friend, Michael Gregg -- who is now a security developer with Red Hat -- and they had us back in operation in a couple of days. Amazing guys.
As we grew and grew, we soon eclipsed the power and capability of our servers to handle the extreme loads that our traffic demanded from our servers. So, Jim Bovenzi and Damon Muzny of AMD helped us get sponsored with numerous dual- and quad-Opteron(TM) based servers that got us through those tough times.
There are many more stories like these and I could fill pages with them all. The kindness that people have showed us at critical times, comes due one day and you have an obligation to "pay it forward" to others. It is because of people like the ones just named and the kindness of others too numerous to list here, that we launched Creative COW Foundation. They are also the reason that there is even a Creative COW, at all, if the truth be told. We helped steer the car but there have been many who kept the tank full of gas.
It is to everyone who has ever encouraged or supported our efforts over the years, to whom we dedicate this endeavor as an honor and remembrance to their kindness and their own generosity.
A CHARITY THAT REALLY IS A CHARITY
The work and costs of the foundation is underwritten completely by Creative COW, so that we are paying all the costs of administration, legal, and accounting -- leaving 100% of every dollar raised by Creative COW Foundation to be awarded in its entirety to deserving students. You wouldn't expect anything less from the COW, would you? Creative COW Foundation has elected to set our foundation's standard high, very high.
If you support Creative COW Foundation, you can be assured that it has been set up so that none of the monies raised will be siphoned off for administration, bookkeeping, legal, or any other expense. None.
Creative COW LLC will bear all operational costs, so that the Creative COW Foundation remains free to operate as an unencumbered conduit through which every dollar raised is passed along directly to deserving students.
Why do it this way, when legally we didn't have to? Because this was never about money. Few charities operate this way, but we felt that our members needed a charity they could trust in these days when you hear one horror story after another on the news.
People have stood by us when times were tough, companies have supported our efforts year after year -- in good times and through tough times -- and as the years have passed, the COW has grown until it truly is unique among all of the companies that serve media professionals. We have always been grateful for this support and have never taken it for granted.
Today, we have passed Google's coveted two million unique visitors a month traffic level. To be honest, we never thought that we'd get this far; under normal circumstances, we probably wouldn't have.
And so, it's time for payback.
With Creative COW Foundation, Creative COW begins a new phase of community building and support. We hope that you are as excited as we are about this new endeavor for Creative COW -- an endeavor that will help deserving students from both the USA and from around the world to fulfill their dreams.
Thank you for being a part of The COW's great adventure over the years. It has truly been an honor to serve you and to see how this community has grown during the past decade. You are an amazing bunch.
You and many others that make the COW part of your lives have graciously joined us in our myriad of endeavors over the years. We hope that you will join us in supporting the Creative COW Foundation when and as you can.