December 16 is the birthday of Klan lawyer and Southern Poverty Law Center founder, millionaire Morris Dees.
For those who may have forgotten the big day, the SPLC has sent out a special reminder that also doubles as a fund-raising tool.
For a cash donation, you can send Mr. Dees a personalized birthday greeting. “We’ll make sure he receives your message” promises the pitch. You have no way of verifying this claim, but hey, has the SPLC ever lied to you before?
For as little as ten dollars, you too can “honor” Mr. Dees’ “tireless crusade for justice and tolerance.” A bargain at twice the price.
But wait! There’s more! If you commit to a monthly donation payment plan, you can “join a special group called Friends of the Center.” What better way to honor the lawyer who has gotten more Klansmen OUT of prison than he’s ever sent there?
As Mr. Dees points out in his autobiography, A Season for Justice, this ol’ Alabama farm boy made his first fortune while still in law school. After graduation, Mr. Dees created one of the most successful mail-order companies of the 1960s. So successful, in fact, that soon after getting Montgomery Klansman Claude Henley off scot-free from federal charges of attacking a busload of Freedom Riders, Dees closed his law office in order to concentrate on the world of direct mail full-time.
As the decade of the 60s wound down to a close, Dees sold the business for six million dollars. Mr. Dees has been a millionaire for the nearly forty years since.
The SPLC has enjoyed support in the range of $26 million to $30 million donor dollars for each of the past five years, in addition to nearly matching amounts from the interest on their $156 MILLION donor dollar Endowment Fund, (although the fund did take a nearly $50 million dollar hit last year, dropping it from a record $201 million).
As reported here just recently, of the $30 million donor dollars the SPLC took in last year, only $1.36 million, or 4.5%, went to actual “legal case costs”. Meanwhile, the SPLC spent $1.88 million donor dollars on fund-raising postage.
So dig deep, friends. Fund-raising postage costs are bound to go up again next year. Millionaire Morris Dees scrapes by on a paltry compensation of $350,000 a year, (including the $20,000 donor dollar raise he gave himself in 2008), and $10,000 a pop for his frequent speaking engagements.
Honor Millionaire Mo for his achievements, like the Direct Marketing Association did when they named him to their fund-raising Hall of Fame. It’s only money.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Dees!