The ‘point’ in my blog title refers to the Point Foundation started by Stewart Brand in roughly 1971 with funds from the Last Whole Earth Catalog. Google seems to take the word ‘point foundation’ to a separate organization that makes grants to LGBT's.
There are plenty of documents that the Point Foundation I am describing left behind. They don't appear to have been digitized and put online yet. Point Foundation had six board members. By the second year Stewart Brand was no longer able to serve as president and I was made president.
Very early on we decided that as an experimental foundation we would get the most experiments underway by having each director plus a regular guest board member make personal grants, take full responsibility for the grants and report back on the outcomes.
Stewart himself launched a very interesting grant. Then, as now, every bleeding heart believed poverty was a major problem in the United States and was curable.
Stewart's ingenious plan was to fund a fellow he met who had five young children and a wife, all of whom looked and dressed like Okies. They were driving an old Buick station wagon.
Stewart gave them a grant to drive all around the United States and have their car breakdown outside of every significant town. They were then to solicit help as people in need. They were also to report back regularly on the progress and the treatment they received. They were white.
Would you like to guess before I tell you the outcome?
In every single town and city in America, where their car broke down, they were treated to the most generous, professional and civil behavior imaginable. They were offered lodging and food and health care and guidance. No exceptions in any part of the country.
The biggest surprise to those of us on the board was that on Thanksgiving day they were lavishly treated but they had no expectation of that.
In America it is common, (it was common in my family), to invite a stranger to the Thanksgiving dinner. These people did not know that. That is part of the reason we concluded that many people are poor; they simply don't know how the institutions around them work.