Recently, since Support for Healing declared a financial crisis when our founder, Zafu Diamond, was not able to afford to pay island tier prices to Linden Labs on his own, I've had my eyes opened to a major misperception.
I've spoken to quite a few people, on the island and off it, about fundraising. Inevitably the topic of conversation will come around to the organizations legal standing, in terms of whether support for healing is genuinely a non-profit making charitable organization. The statutory requirements of the United States are mentioned, and I'm asked about SfH's compliance with them.
Then comes the bombshell.
Support for Healing is not an American project. It never has been. Our co-founders both live in the UK. When I tell people that, particularly if they come from the US, their reaction is almost identical in every case - they never considered, for one brief moment, that an organization that does such good works would exist in any country but the United States. It takes them completely off guard that Support for Healing would have gained it's charitable status in a different country.
I have to ask myself why this does come as such a surprise. The reactions of a lot of Americans I've spoken to is quite telling, in that reflected in their (justified) national pride about the charitable works of some American organizations overseas, is the growing sentiment that only Americans would think about doing something like Support for Healing. There's less of a surprise factor in the reactions of non-US residents, and indeed less of a disbelief factor as well. Less often do I get asked "are you serious?" by a non-US resident when I say that SfH is UK based.
I've seen other support groups in Second Life, and I've seen quite a lot of commercialism in terms of any support group needing to be paid for. That will never happen at Support for Healing. We do embody the Buddhist belief of our founder in that SfH is neither religious nor discriminating. We do what we do as volunteers, because we seek to help others; no other reason than that. Surely, this can happen anywhere in the world, not just the US?