Our donation to Doctors Without Borders

After selling the Fancy Book and realizing over $10K from that, and with artist Kelly Houle donating her profits from the sale of her painted book cover (and a percentage of her profits from the Darwin’s orchid print), we have finally received the money from the buyers and donated it to Doctors Without Borders.  I know readers will trust us that the money indeed went to charity, but I wanted to put up the donation receipt just for the record.

Kelly put up the auction pages, ran the auction, received the money, sent off the goods, and made the final donation, for which I am immensely grateful. And here’s what DwB got (we had to give $400 to PayPal for the transaction, an execrable action on their part given that it was a charity auction, and there was also a fee for the registered mail to send the book to the winner). It’s $10,357.97.


Despite the mercenary grasping of PayPal, that’s still a lot of dough. I think I’ll do it again with Faith versus Fact, and will begin collecting signatures on the first edition when the book comes out on May 19. Kelly has kindly volunteered to illuminate and illustrate the book again, so look for another auction in a couple of years!


  1. Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Woohoo! Great news about doing it again!

    …and, maybe, seeing how this one topped the $10K mark, that’ll inspire somebody in the next bidding war to top it by some obscene amount…?


    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      It wont be obscene if Jerry gets Ben Goren’s signature on FvsF. That is worth about 15K alone.

      Congratulations Prof CC, Kelly Houle and the winning bidder.

      • Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Even if affixed to a certain type of small piece of paper, I’m not so sure my signature would be worth that much. The bank likely wouldn’t.

        But Baihu’s print, on the other paw….


  2. Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Excellent job!

  3. Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Bravo! (Boo! Hiss! to PayPal.)


    • Posted April 11, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I have an idea. Not all of us could afford to bid on the fancy book or buy an exquisite orchid print. How about if some of us so inclined send one-time small donations to DWB to make up the $400 shortfall? There’d be no charge to us for credit card donations.

  4. Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Well done.

    Paypal get sits pound of flesh; but money transfers always do. Well worth in my experience (I use it a lot, in both directions). The convenience = many sales (for me) and even though I lose a small amount, it’s more sure than a personal check — the primary alternative for me.

    • Posted April 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I auctioned on eBay before PayPal, and I have never resented their fees. Selling without them would be hell.

      • Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I agree completely. PayPal makes transactions very convenient, and usually the fees are manageable because there is income from the sale, but when 100% of the sale is going to a charity, and the price skyrockets as it did in this case, having to pay over $400 out of pocket was a bit of a shock. Ebay refunds 100% of its fees for auctions that go 100% to charity. If they didn’t have that policy, there would have been another $750 due!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 13, 2015 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        I’ve not resented the costs of using PAyPal either. Though it’s probably over a year since I did it. Moving money costs.
        I’m a bit surprised to discover they have unforgiving attitudes to charity. But not very surprised. It’s a business, after all. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that they’ve been stung in the past by people setting up fake charities. Similarly, do you remember the low-cost/ high-postage tricks of a couple of years ago to bypass value-based customs charges? I’m sure some scam artist would come up with a scheme to exploit any loopholes they left.

  5. Jeff Rankin
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The PayPal Giving Fund might be an a better alternative for future auctions of this type:


    • Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      The donation pictured above was for Professor CC’s book alone. The title page painting, donated by a generous WEIT reader, contributed another $970, plus donations totaling $325 were generated from orchid print sales. I will continue to donate 30% from every orchid print sold to MsF. Thank you to everyone who participated!

      • Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Beautiful work Kelly and this is a fine gesture by you.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        That’s great! I was just pointing out the Paypal Giving Fund as a possible alternative to typical (non-charitable) PayPal transactions.

        • Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Yes–sorry, I meant to post my comment in the main queue! As I understand it, one must be a registered charity to participate in PayPal Giving Fund. I’m working on that!

          • Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            You mean the 501(c)(3) thing? Good luck navigating those waters…I’ve started down that path once or twice and haven’t had the time to see it through.

            I’ve heard that the Arizona Corporation Commission has some new stuff on their Web site to streamline the process, but I haven’t had a chance to investigate it yet.

            If you primarily intend to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, they may be able to help you, perhaps by letting you do whatever you need under their own legal credentials. And I’d think it should be easy to get their attention since you just dropped $10K in their tip jar….


      • Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Brava, Kelly. I adore your artwork too.

  6. Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful! What a worthy charity.

  7. mpatrick65
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Kudos, Professor! Great cause.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic! Kudos to Jerry and Kelly for all the time and effort they put into this. It’s great to see DWB/MSF getting such a good and well deserved donation. 🙂

  9. Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I also signed up for Amazon Smile (which I heard about here) and made MSF (DWB) my charity.

    • DTaylor
      Posted April 11, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I have done this too and really recommend it. It’s easy and doesn’t change the use of Amazon.

  10. Posted April 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff, and an excellent cause!

  11. Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations again, PCC!

  12. Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    It seems like a donation in that amount could be done in person with photos, and fanfare, and press. Particularly given the uncommon way the the money was raised, and some in the press are always interested in bringing attention to the “surprising” concept of atheists being altruistic.

  13. Connor
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, do you have to pay the eBay fees as well? They usually take a hefty cut off any sale, often invoicing in the following month.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      See Kelly’s comment at #4 above.

  14. FDiana MacPherson
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Yay! Congratulations!

  15. Posted April 10, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    That is wonderful!

  16. Posted April 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    This is very nice of you (Jerry) and Kelly.

  17. Rupinder Sayal
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Amazing!! Bravo!!

  18. Posted April 11, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Awesome. In related news, some West African countries are making great progress against ebola. Doctors Without Borders has probably the best anti ebola program going.

  19. J Smith
    Posted April 11, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink


  20. Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    PayPal needs to get a clue.

  21. Diane G.
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Think of how many patients this will help, how many lives may be saved!

    • Dominic
      Posted April 13, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      It was well done.

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