Thursday, September 24, 2015
Letter to the McKnight Foundation
Dear McKnight Foundation:
I see your name bandied about town as one who grants... things. You are clearly a granter. I'm not entirely clear on how that all works, but it seems like you are sort of like a Fairy Godmother, or a genie in a bottle. And so I come to you, a supplicant, hat in hands, humbly hoping you will grant me my one wish:
I wish for three more wishes.
I'm just kidding. They say humor breaks the ice, and I would like us to have a warm, friendly relationship. But don't count that as one of my wishes!
You, as a granter, are probably quite used to people coming to you to ask for money. You might even be a bit tired of people always asking for money. So when I write you, all friendly and joking, you probably think "Uh oh. I bet he's going to ask for money."
First of all, I'd like to say our friendship comes first for me. That's the important thing. Second, I'm not asking for any money at this time, and probably not ever. I'm just asking for you to be my "safety" grant organization. You see, I'm 98% sure that I have received a MacArthur Fellowship. These are commonly known as "genius" grants, but the MacArthur people hate when you call it that. Still, it's a really good grant and I'm very excited about it. But because I have yet to receive my first check from them I wanted to have a back up plan. It's super unlikely this "genius grant" thing won't work out, but I was hoping you'd be willing to fill in in case there are any problems. That way I could get started on my genius stuff right away and be sure I'm all set.
You are probably thinking "Hey, I thought we were friends. Why did you pick the MacArthur Foundation over us? Do you like them better? Is it the genius thing?"
No. I like you better. You are my hometown granting organization. And though the genius thing is very flattering, I am only going with The MacArthur Foundation to help save you money so you can give it to other Minnesotans. But if you want to be the go-to grant organization on my grant just say the word. It's $625,000. I accept cash, checks, and money orders. Send it along and I will call up MacArthur today. I will call them and say "I was moved by your generous genius grant offer, but McKnight are my hometown people, they are special, and I am going to go with them!" If I do this I will not look back. Though it would be thoughtful of you, if all this were the case, if you gave my grant a special name, for instance, "McKnight's One Time Super Genius Grant". But that's not absolutely necessary.
But other than that I am just asking, friend to friend, that you be my back up on this grant stuff. I think we'll both come out ahead in the long run that way. I'll know you were there for me, and, in a pinch, you can swoop in and be a hero, only tangentially making those MacArthur people look a bit second rate. Not that there's a competition between granting foundations.
Just let me know which way you want to go, granter or back up granter, and I will get started doing my geniusy stuff.
Thanks so much.