Friday, June 25, 2010

support Michael Dee's race across the Gobi Desert for KIPP

STOP THE PRESSES #2!  If you are as inspired as I am by the incredible things KIPP is doing, I hope you'll join me in supporting my great friend, Michael Dee, who is doing something truly amazing to support KIPP: he is doing the second most grueling endurance event IN THE WORLD (the Tour de France is #9), a 250 km. foot race over seven days across the Gobi Desert, to raise money for KIPP NY and KIPP Houston.  I am inspired by what he is doing – I highly doubt I could ever do it! – and have already given $2,500, equal to $10 for each km.  Here's Michael's appeal:


When Whitney and I met for the first time this year, we immediately knew we had to do something audacious and impactful together to further our mutual passion for change-driven education paradigms such as KIPP. We hope you agree...


On June 27th I will participate in a 155-mile, seven-day foot race across the Gobi Desert at temperatures exceeding 120 degrees, carrying all equipment, food, medical and clothing supplies in a 22 lb. backpack only being supplied water, and a tent at night. This race was recently ranked #2 on Time magazine's list of the world's top endurance events (the Tour de France was #9).


Why such an extreme event you ask? Fair question...


Both Whitney and I feel it best symbolizes the unique spirit and character of the KIPP students and the challenges they overcome every day, with no excuses. It simply takes an outrageous effort to equal the cause.   


The region of the Gobi I will be racing is known as 'the oven' and is the furthest point from any ocean on the planet. The race involves roughly a marathon a day for four days followed by a double marathon and then a relaxing half marathon. There are no cheering crowds lining the route unless you include the local ethnic groups. Make no mistake, I'm a desk jockey like most of you, so this will involve its fair share of pain and grit.


While in Houston with Morgan Stanley I was on the Executive Committee of KIPP Houston and Chaired Teach for America Houston. Now I live in Singapore where I have seen that the relentless focus on education has enabled one of the greatest urban success stories of our age, predicated on the development of human capital. By virtue of living in Asia I have a front row seat at how America's post war educational advantage is being eroded and the amazing pace with which the developing markets of China and India in particular are catching up and exceeding our students. The KIPP model and others like it should be considered not just the civil rights issue of the 21st century, but an issue of national security.




We were both board members with the founders of KIPP, myself with Mike Feinberg in Houston and Whitney with David Levin in NY. We have seen, up close and personal, the power of inspiration in motivating kids to work hard and be nice. We've seen proof that the only limitations are those we put on ourselves. While a year ago I couldn't run five miles without an Iron Lung and an IV, now I've lost 30 lbs. and am just cocky enough to believe I can do this. I hope my efforts will inspire you to step up for the KIPPsters in a big way and enable them the opportunity to do the heavy lifting to change their lives.


You don't have to wear a tux, bid at auctions or attend a fancy dinner. I'll have a blog running daily so you can follow the progress from the comfort of home or work. When I hit the wall, and I will, I'll have two things to keep me going, first is the inspiration of the entire KIPP family who never give up and beat the odds every day, and second is you, for investing in this project with us and providing the means to change the future.  


Bookmark the Blog below and follow the adventure as the Gobi March approaches on June 27th:


Donations can be made online or by check:


Dedicated website online:


Or, checks should be made payable to 'KIPP, Inc.' and mailed to:


Gobi March 2010

Attn: Development

10711 KIPP Way

Houston, TX  77099


Want to know more about KIPP? Watch:


"KIPP is..."


"The Moment"


PS—Read this ( and then watch the 2nd video ("The Moment") – it's AMAZING!

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