Updated on 07.31.14

A Simple Request

Trent Hamm

Since my tongue-in-cheek post on Monday about my “seminar series,” I’ve been stunned at the outpouring of emails and notes from people who wanted to pay me anyway for that “seminar.”

I really appreciate it. I deeply appreciate it.

Right now, though, I’m in a financial situation where, for the time being and for the near term, I don’t need that money. I actually live the things I write about on this site. My financial situation is relatively secure (nothing is absolutely secure, but I’m happy with where I’m at).

Yet, at the same time, I deeply understand the desire to give. I often donate to websites and web tools that I use or find valuable or find inspiration, just because I know how much work and passion goes into putting that out there.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to handle this. I thought about my life and the people in it. Pretty quickly, the right answer came to me.

Three members of my close family all work for the same charity. This charity does tremendous life-chaning work here in the United States on what’s often a shoestring budget.

This charity is L’arche Tahoma Hope in Tacoma, Washington.

L’arche Tahoma Hope is a charity that runs a series of homes in the Tacoma area. These homes – mostly just ordinary houses, but one is a small farm – are places where small groups of developmentally disabled adults live along with L’arche volunteers and workers. These developmentally disabled individuals are not able to live on their own and often come from families who are extremely challenged to care for them.

What L’arche does is provide a community situation for these individuals to live in. The people who work for L’arche live in these homes right alongside the developmentally disabled members of L’arche, helping the people there live the most full life possible in a community of their peers, where everyone is valued regardless of their disability.

When I’ve visited there, I’ve been amazed to see how developmentally disabled people have had the opportunity to live a full, social, happy life where they have friends who view them as valuable equals, something that would be very difficult for them to have in almost any other situation.

You don’t have to spend much time there to see the enormous positive impact on the lives of the people who live there. At the same time, I’d be the first to admit that it takes someone with special skills and a special heart to do the work that needs to be done to make this possible.

Even a cursory look at their annual report – they leave their books pretty wide open for anyone to look – reveals that they manage to pull this off with a surprising lack of funds, considering they run four fully-staffed homes. They don’t waste money there, and they make use of every single dime they can get.

Please, if you’ve even considered giving a dollar to me or to The Simple Dollar in the past, channel that giving to L’arche Tahoma Hope. If you’ve ever wanted a small charity to champion, consider L’arche. Every dollar helps.

You can visit the L’arche Tahoma Hope website here.

Thank you.

(I not only wrote this for today’s post, but for the ability to share this link in the future with people who write to me asking to donate money.)

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  1. John says:

    You really think it’s prudent to turn down all that money?

  2. Jon says:

    I really doubt there were many people offering to pay for the so called seminar. I also thought one of the main objectives here was to maximize your income?

    If you want to ask for money for a charity then just ask.

  3. done that says:

    L’arche really is an amazing community. They are all over the world. Thanks for posting where more people can find out about them

    I wasn’t actually going to send you any money but I might send some to them!

  4. leslie says:

    I suspect you are missing the point. People are not saying that they want to give you money. They are saying that they are willing (and happy to) pay you for your financial seminar. They appreciate and value you as a person with status and respect in the field of personal finance. They want to pay to see you in person and hear more/additional/the same information in a different format.

    No matter how great the charity is (and I have no doubt that they do fantastic and worthwhile work that deserves to be supported) that is not what people are looking to do (donate to a charity).

    It is fine if this is not an avenue that you want to pursue right now. Please don’t confuse people wanting to pay for your expertise though with people just wanting to give you money.

    BTW – you might want to reconsider your stance on this. I would think it is an amazing opportunity to stretch yourself and do some personal and professional growth.

  5. Luke G. says:

    I’ve worked with (and lived with) persons with the same disabilities you have described here. I think it’s great that you have given this otherwise perhaps unsung charity some props. I’d never heard of them…but…that doesn’t say much! :)

    I can’t speak for whether or not anyone will donate to it, but I can totally see why you would want to mention their work and at least let others know.

  6. Amy says:

    That is very kind and generous of you, Trent. Kudos!

  7. Tom says:

    Long-time lurker, but not much of a poster.

    But I had to post today for this topic, since I thought it was a worthwhile gift and I was happy to donate. I had never heard of this charity (I’m somewhat nearby in Seattle), but visiting their website made me proud to live in a country where good people are willing to help those who are less fortunate.

    It’s hard to read comments #1, 2, and 4 – bloggers must have ways to insulate themselves. But if ever I need an example of missing the forest for the trees, I can simply return to this post!

    Thanks for the great website, and the thought-provoking articles that span personal finance AND personal “life” (like this one). Keep up the great work.

  8. Pat S says:

    Yeah… I think some of your readers missed the joke. Good on you for pointing them in the direction of charity however.

  9. Raghu Bilhana says:


    That is really an honourable thing to do. Keep up the good work man. Don’t let mean comments get to you. I myself felt bad when I read some other comments on this post, I can understand how you would have felt.

    Dont let such comments get to you.

  10. Mary says:

    L’Arche is a wonderful organization. As the writer in comment #3 noted, there are many communities all over the world. The founder, Jean Vanier, was the son of one of Canada’s governor-generals. He still lives in France, and has written several books about L’Arche, and about his philosophy and life. He’s strongly influenced by his Christian faith. What I find interesting and moving about his books is the way he writes about service, and the way he talks about living with people of many different abilities. Highly recommended reading.

  11. Justin says:

    I’ve never heard of L’arche Tahoma Hope before, but it definitely seems like they’re doing some great stuff.

    Thanks for letting us know about em!

  12. Bay says:

    I’m another long-time reader/rare comment-er, but I wanted to also say kudos for turning down the monetary contributions & then writing such a thought-out response. Some of these comments are outrageous, but I’m sure most readers do understand that yes, there are people who feel led to give you a contribution and you thought of a way to make this money have maximum impact.
    Good on you for choosing a small charity that could truly benefit from your potential donations.

  13. Kelly says:

    Are you kidding me?? Some people will find the negative in ANYTHING. Thanks for letting us know of this charity; I hope they benefit as a result of this post (and I bet they will!).

  14. Aaron says:

    Very cool. I have been a reader for years now and live near Tacoma. I have even volunteered here once in the past…not knowing the connection you have with the them…small world. What a great organization, very worth while and meaningful.

  15. Georgia says:

    I had a dear brother with Downs Syndrome. I was so glad when he was put into a home where they could work for Sheltered Workshop. They do a similar work with those unable to function on their own.

    I just had a large wardrobe refurbished by them and they did excellent work. They may be a little slow on the job, but with such great results, who cares? My wardrobe was taken apart, cleaned up, stained and put back together, all for about $85. Great for them – great for me.

    Thanks for the reminder, Trent, of all the ways we can better the world.

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