"Once I got over that initial reluctance, it was actually quite easy," he says. The dinner invitations were sent via e-mail, but Chen snail-mailed subsequent requests for cash for a more personal touch. First he sent requests, complete with self-addressed stamped envelopes, to the wealthiest people he knew, followed by the mere well-off, and finally, friends who may only be able to pitch in $10 or $20. He figures he'll have raised upward of $10,000 before heading to Uganda this month.
Soon he'll have his precious fundraising reel, which he plans on using in pitches to the Sundance Documentary Project and possibly HBO. Then, who knows? Maybe he'll splurge and treat himself to a haircut. *
For more information on Chesley Chen's Memory Book documentary or to make a donation, e-mail him at email@example.com.