A stark and stunning look at priorities

I was stunned to hear of this divorce . . .

Last week we all learned that celebrity extraordinaire, Kim Kardashian and her new husband were divorcing after a mere 72 days of married bliss. 

Stunning you may say. But actually what really floored me was learning that they had generated almost $18 million through product endorsements, public access and other options through their wedding.

Really?!?  Eighteen million dollars?   How can our priorities be this misplaced, to financially award “celebrities” (and honestly, what exactly is she famous for, anyway?) for making a personal, sacred day so public? And “for sale?”

This made me think: if we took this same amount of money and applied it toward charitable intentions — what could we accomplish? I thought I would pose the question to a couple of our nonprofit partners, and boy did I learn a lot!

Danita Morgan, who heads development for Wake County-based Urban Ministries, told me that Urban Ministries could apply that same $18 million to operate for nine years, serving more than 24,000 people each year (for a total of 216,000 people!); help 18,000 homeless women move into stable housing and a productive life;  provide medical care for a year for 21,600 uninsured people who are living in poverty; write 25,992 prescriptions for uninsured people; and provide a week’s worth of groceries for nearly a million families in need. WOW!

When I talked with Ashe County Habitat for Humanity, I learned that with $18 million, of course the number of homes could be increased — but also entire sections of the community could be built or replaced!  This would include the purchase of land and infrastructure:  roads, sewers, community wells, and so on.  The same $18 million is enough to construct 140 Habitat homes and purchase the land and install the required infrastructure.  Economies of scale would offset the costs of management. 

The implications of a large infusion of capital like this would be far-reaching, touching our economy, improving unemployment statistics and changing not just lives, but entire communities.

With respect to the number of people impacted, we can start with the 140 homes with an average of, let’s say, 3.5 family members.  That comes to 490 residents.  We can add to that an average of 100 individuals and repeat volunteers per home easily effecting as many as 14,000 people!

Pretty amazing stuff. What struck me most about these “what-if” conversations were the wide-ranging ripple effects that a single contribution of this size could create. Lives would be changed, communities would be strengthened, economies could grow again.

So, I’m here to propose that Kim and what’s his name agree to “sell the rights to their divorce.” Imagine…live television coverage of proceedings (maybe even covered by Nancy Grace!), book sales, videos, People magazine covers, Barbara Walters interview…it would surely surpass $18 million.

And, in a gesture of profound humanitarian commitment and selfless dedication to their fellow man … they give all of the proceeds to charity! It’s an idea whose time has come … talk it up, spread the word, maybe we can make it happen!