Nonprofit Newswire | He’s Extremely Generous

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February 27, 2010; The National Post | When it comes to giving back, Brian Jones is “extremely” generous. As a result, the 40-year-old Canadian investment advisor frequently goes to painful lengths to raise money for aid groups—including scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, walking across the Sahara Desert and skiing to the North Pole. Just recently, as part of an effort to demonstrate the plight of homeless youth, he spent several days wandering the streets of his hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital city, begging for money, scouring garbage cans for bottles, eating at a soup kitchen, and sleeping in a parking garage at night. This time, though, Jones was trailed by a film crew, which recorded him for a documentary that will be released next fall. While good intentioned, the campaign attracted a number of boos after local newspapers got wind of it, leading some to dismiss it as “gimmicky.” That, plus the fact he had a film crew following around, calling even more attention to his stunt, forced Jones to give up his plan to spend an entire week on the street. Instead he had to shorten his adventure to just three days. This isn’t the first time things didn’t go as planned for what the National Post dubs Jones’ “extreme philanthropy.” The newspaper reports that on the way to the North Pole, he fell through the ice and into the bitter cold ocean and while on six-day race across the Sahara, he fell sick, lost 20 pounds and several toenails and was forced to quit halfway through. “Me getting sick in the desert raised way more attention back home here because I didn’t finish. It was a bigger story than the race itself,” he said. Still, the fundraising dinner held in conjunction with the event sold out. “Even though I personally failed, the whole objective did better than we expected.”—Bruce Trachtenberg