BY MARY WICOFF
If every resident of Danville donated $1 to a local good cause, that would go a long way to making the city a better place.
That’s the premise behind “Dollar(s) for Danville,” the brainchild of native Cozetta “Cozy” Washington.
Washington launched the idea through the Facebook page, “You Know You’re From Danville When …,” and it was an instant success, she said. Her idea is to ask people to donate just one dollar (or more), and that money will go to a local effort, such as a food bank or a school-related cause, to help as many people as possible.
She already has the support of leaders, such as Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and First Presbyterian Church Pastor Jimmy Hopper.
Before taking the idea further, however, she wants to see how much support is in the community. An informal gathering to discuss the idea will start at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at the Lincoln Park pavilion.
If there’s enough interest, then the group will move forward to work out details — such as how to choose the recipient of the money — and opening a bank account.
“We can start the drive then or just talk about it,” she said.
The meeting will coincide with a Danville Municipal Band concert in the park, so people can enjoy that at the same time, and possibly refreshments, she said.
“Hopefully, it will be a decent turnout,” Washington said. “If no one shows, we’ll leave it alone.”
Washington is looking forward to meeting the people she’s been conversing with on the Facebook page. The purpose of that page is to reminisce about the Danville area and share tips, such as the best place to get a hamburger, she said.
Everyone is invited to the meeting to offer suggestions, but Washington had one warning: No negativity.
“If they have negative energy, they might as well stay home,” she said. “We don’t want any negative vibes here.”
She added, “You can’t be negative about something if you’re unwilling to do something about it.”
Washington, a 1982 graduate of Danville High School and a recent graduate of Danville Area Community College, said there are a lot of positive qualities about the city — if people would just open their eyes and notice the history and gardens and services, for example. She likes to give people credit for doing their jobs, such as the police and fire departments.
Danville has been good to her, she said, and this is her way of giving back.
Details about the fundraiser need to be worked out yet. But Washington would like to see the money go to an effort that helps a variety of people.
“If our group can feed children or give them shoes or give women shelter … (that’s how) Jesus went about doing good,” she said. “If you put your dollars toward something good for the city, something good will come from it.”
To skeptics of the fundraiser, Washington said, “Those who know me know my heart is in the right place.”
Another detail to address is whether the fundraiser will be an annual event or if people can contribute year-round through a bank account, for example.
While Washington is interested in getting the project off the ground, she’s also looking for someone who can lead it when she goes off to college this fall. She’s been accepted into the physician assistant program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, with the goal of earning a doctorate in osteopathy research and development. She wants to return to Danville and use her skills here.
Washington also hopes to start similar projects in Minnesota.
An informational meeting to start a Dollar(s) for Danville fundraiser will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at the Lincoln Park pavilion. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.