Sunday, January 10, 2016

If I won the lottery

With the news that the Powerball lottery here in the United States has a record-setting jackpot of more than a billion dollars (yes, billion with a "b"), one's thoughts naturally turn to "what would I do with hundreds of millions of dollars".

Now, I'm going to set aside the obvious gimmes, like pay my bills, build my dream-house, trust funds for my daughter and (hopefully) grandchildren, and taking care of friends and family. I'm also going to stay away from non-religious related things (but it can safely be assumed that certain political campaigns and organizations would receive sizable donations).

But purely on an Asatru front, here's how I'd want to spend at least part of that $800 million (the lump-sum payout as of this writing, minus taxes of course):

  1. A Northeast Asatru community center. A complex with a hof, hall (with commercial-grade kitchen), classrooms, camping sites and cabins, and probably a sustainable farm to give real meaning to the agricultural roots of many of our rituals. There's a thriving Asatru community in the NJ/NY/PA region, and I think it could sustain (and properly utilize) such a place easily. It could also serve as host for regular larger gatherings. This would also have the fortunate side-effect of keeping a lot of Asatru artists and craftsmen very busy for quite a while. 
  2. I'd also like to set up more conventional businesses in the area and hire folks from the local Asatru community who need hiring. Imagine working at a place where you got off for Yule automatically, or where Midsummer was a paid holiday? (This is also something that could gradually be expanded to other areas, and could even be the start of viable intentional communities.)
  3. Pay off the mortgage on Newgrange Hof. This is almost too obvious, but donations to the AFA are tax-deductible, right?
  4. An Asatru scholarship fund. 
  5. Start a business publishing English translations of European scholarly works relevant to Asatru. There are so many great and important works on Germanic history, mythology, and religion out there that are closed to the vast majority of the English-speaking world (because they're written in German, or French, or one of the Scandinavian languages), it would be a great thing to make them available not only to Asatruar, but to the scholarly world as well.
  6. I'd also look into setting up a seed fund for hofs around the country. It's not something to be done willy-nilly just because there are a half-dozen Asatruar somewhere who get together regularly. But if there are places where there is a thriving community, with growing numbers and an active schedule, that is clearly just getting larger than peoples' living rooms will accommodate, I think it's high time those sorts of situations got a little boost in getting professional, dedicated facilities. (See also #2 above.)
  7. Professional outreach consultants. I'm a big believer in outreach (it's also at the heart of one of the AFA's goals listed on its Mission Statement). I think a lot of our growth problems are due to the fact that folks not only don't know we're around (or what we're really about), but also that many Asatruar have reservations about outreach in the first place. But what if we had general billboards, and television advertisements, and the like? Just to get the word out that we exist and the broad outlines of our beliefs? I think that would be the start of a quantum leap in growth.
I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, and doubtless once the money's in hand and lawyers and accountants are hired, priorities may change, but it's fun to dream. And that's all you need, right? Well, a dollar and a dream...

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