SSF started with me going "hey everyone, we should club together and buy some books and an xbox for Temple Street". That was... wait for it... 15 years ago. Fifteen!
do I feel old right now. I never intended it to be a tradition but well, here we are.
For 15 years its been my honour to work on this project and its something I will never forget.
But all good things come to an end and this is the last year I will be running SSF for a few reasons.
1. I wont be on this side of the planet next year. I'm planning on being in NZ and Japan around this time next year. That in itself wouldnt stop me (the intertubes are very long) but...
2. What used to be a conduit has now become friction. 15 years ago, charities didnt use the internet. Most people didnt use the internet! I was providing a service by collecting money and turning it into gifts. Now there are more direct ways to support your chosen charities and I'm actually more of a middleman than I want to be.
3. Charities have become a lot more cagey about accepting gifts from weirdos on the internet. Go figure!
4. Its a lot of work. I wont lie, while its amazing to see these charities benefit, its a fair amount of work for me and there are better, easier, more effective ways to support and work for these charities than SSF. After 15 years, I'm retiring.
So what now?
30 years ago I started the Gaelcon charity auction. (Its still going strong despite me stepping back 15 years ago). Its raised easily over 1M by now. SSF has raised approx 200k at a guess... I'm always going to do charity work but its time to do something different. What that different thing is, I dunno. I'm going to finish SSF 2017 and have a sit and a think. I'm open to ideas. Maybe we elect a pet charity for Boards each year, maybe we put up several direct-donation options. I dunno.
I want to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has donated over the years. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for letting me be the one who walks into charities with bags of toys or iPads or whatevers and see their reactions. Its been a rollercoaster. Its been an honour.