Update as of Dec 20:The gift has been given! http://unclekage.livejournal.com/123300.html
As you may or may not know from his LiveJournal post, in early September, Uncle Kage's condominium was flooded due to troubles in the unit above it. A great deal of strucutral and cosmetic damage has happened and is being repaired. As was later hinted, insurance companies are fiddling over payments.
Having been through a sizable insurance claim myself, I know how this goes. While I expect a bulk of the repairs will be covered, there are doubtlessly going to be deductibles and disputes. Any deviation you attempt from an insurance companies determination (try to change a replacement item, etc.) will usually end up costing you rather stiffly.
I've poked my nose around quietly and have confirmed my expectations are indeed the case. I'm expecting that the cost to Uncle Kage will be a minimum of several thousand dollars. Consequently, this site a drive to collect donations to help Uncle Kage out.
A list of donors will be provided to Kage when the final amount is handed to him in person by astor_apatosaur. (This is currently slated to happen around Dec 15) If you wish to donate anonymously, please say so in the notes on the PayPal transaction.
If you wish to send a check or other form of payment, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the mailing address in information.
What caused the damage?
Contrary to popular discussion on the Pawpet show IRC channel, it was not a fursuit hung on a fire sprinkler. The condo above Uncle Kage's had a pipe burst while he was away.
What is the goal?
Current estimates would have insurance falling $3,000 short. Based on personal experience and some research, I am estimating that number will actually end up at $5,000. (Repairs are currently being made, so I could only weasel estimates out of involved parties.) Thus, the goal is $5,000.
Why are you doing this?
Back in 2001 or so, an electrical problem in my apartment started a fire that ended up destroying most of my belongings and killing my pet cat. It was not a fun event. (Some of you may remember this, the pictures and proto-blog of the recovery are still over here.)
At the time of the fire, I was stuck out of state for several days. The first person to get to that scene and relay info back to me was Kage. He stood by and helped me out during all the trouble of recovery.
More importantly, he recognized that I would be under financial duress and he gathered all the donations that were made and gave them to me. It really helped me out in my time of need. I want to do the same for him.
Why should I care about this?
Uncle Kage has done a great deal for the fandom and a great many people. Aside from the storytelling aspects, his writings, the charities he volunteers for and runs, he also is the head of Anthrocon. He has helped take that con from a relatively small one up to the largest fur con out there, one that's big enough to garner occasional good press, have a city that loves it being there, and put furries in the Guiness Book of World Records.
But in general I think Uncle Kage is a good person. And by that I mean he does a lot of good in this world without expecting it back. I've seen it in person and I hope others have as well. I'd like to do good back for him.
How can I trust you?
Well. First off I'm not a random stranger to him. Dr. Conway and I have been friends for around 15 years. I helped him move in and out of his last 3 homes as he has helped me in and out of mine. I'm on a first name basis with his parents. He attended my college graduation. I've seen him in a chicken suit. While I lived in Pennsylvania, we had a weekly movie night with friends. We've more then met and I've no interest in ripping him off.
As for myself, I was the guy who mixed Anthrocon's videos for the years in front of Cheetah, and I ran Anthrocon's registration for a few years before moving west. I've run a few furry websites for a while, currently run a few publications. Those are the furry merit badges.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Mostly I'm interested in returning the favor that was done for me.