Accidents are not always bad. The word that captures that unexpected good fortune is serendipity. It is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way,” so says the online dictionary at Google.
My friends and I, a group called the Zeolites, know that experience very well. We came from homes where the idea of charity — giving a hard-won dollar to someone else — was almost unimaginable. But thanks to a sequence of serendipitous events, we learned not just how to donate a single dollar, but over $180,000.
There was no excess money in our childhood homes. And, if you did happen to have a few coins left over, better to save them for rainy days like those that our folks had lived through during the Great Depression of the 1930s — and that they told us might come again. Had there been a sign in my boyhood residence, it might have read:
“Charity Begins at Home? Probably Not There or Anywhere Else”
The video/story of how we came to be accidental philanthropists always brings a smile. It documents an adventure that started in a high school cafeteria 50 years ago. One that began with one person: our buddy Ron Ableman and a meeting he suggested 37 years in advance.
Take a look:
The Story of the High Potentate of the Zeolites.
This beautifully crafted video is the work of Michael G. Kaplan, for which the Zeolite Scholarship Committee is most grateful. One more example of our good fortune. Pictured above are, from left, Ron Ableman, the High Potentate of the Zeolites, and Dr. Neil Rosen at the Zeolite Scholarship Ceremony, May 3, 2013, in Mather High School, Chicago, Illinois. For the High Potentate’s response to the above, please go to: