Charity chain letter. Farkas. Send $10 for Sloan Kettering. Ten copies. US, 1996.

June 11, 1996

Mr. and Mrs. xxx


We have been asked to help raise at least $5000,000 to assist the Home Care Program/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in completing its endowment.

The Home Care Program cares for homebound people living with catastrophic illness. It offers physiological and psychological symptoms control, without charge, to them and their families/significant others. Care is given 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The interest from this endowment will enable the Program to secure the services of a home are nurse. The more money raised, the greater the number of people that will have their needs met in a compassionate and professional manner.

In order to reach this target, we ask you to kindly do the following:

1.     Please forward a check for $10 (no more) made payable to
       "The Home Care Program- MSKCC," and address to: The Home Care
       Program/MSKCC, c/o Jimmie Holland, M.D., Box 421, 1275 York
       Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021

2.     Please retype this letter on your own letterhead and send it to 10
       individuals in your company, organization, or whom you know
       personally and know will be able to help. With your letter, please
       send the names of those whom you are sending your letter to, and
       the enclosed lists of recipients to date.

All contributions are fully tax deductible. No goods or services have been offered to you or received by you in consideration of your gift.

Warm regards,


[No list of ten names and addresses was supplied with this letter]

The Detroit News, National News, April 4, 1997.
"Hospital keeps distance from chain letter, takes the cash."
Letter had raised $251,000. Celebrity names. Started with a mailing of 24 copies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Front Page, April 10, 1999. Front Page.
"Letter drew cash, but no stamp of approval." By David Segal, Washington Post
"A year and a half later [after starting the letter] Farkas' missive has somehow acquired the social cachet of a corner table at Elaine's." "It bounced through the elite of New York publishing, then ricocheted off superstars in Hollywood, and is caroming through the corridors of power in Washington."
Says $800,000 has been raised. "Our sense is that if somebody was willing to give $10, they would have given more and we missed an opportunity, " said Chris Weserman, a Sloan-Kettering spokeswoman. Asks recipients throw the letter away. Traces celebrity lineages.
Reasons for popularity of Farkas' letter: (1) "asks recipients to recopy the text onto their own letterhead, which gives it the feel of a personal approach by an acquaintance" (2) " the letter comes with a list of previous recipients, which led people to send it to the highest-status people they know, hoping to impress others", (3) "the letter asks for 'no more' than $10, which gives it the grassroots feel of an underdog campaign." Copycats for other causes have launched their own versions."

Obtained from Carol Farkas by Jim Hudson, Littleton, Colorado. Farkas and her husband authored the letter, the first dated June 11, 1996. Provided by Jim Hudson, Littleton, CO.  to DWV in 6/1999, with attached newspaper articles.


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