AMD's Favorite Charity
It could be me!
Last week's announcement that Advanced Micro Devices has boosted its sponsorship of the World Congress on Information Technology, due to descend upon Austin in May, raises many questions ranging from, "What the heck isn't AMD sponsoring these days?" to "Do you think they would sponsor a party at my house?" Indeed, it's growing hard to swing a dead cat in Austin without hitting the company's boxy green logo on some sort of billboard, banner, or brochure, from the parched dust storms of the Austin City Limits festival to the significantly more mellow Festival de las Plantas on the Eastside. AMD prefers not to reveal how many dollars go into earning the "Pinnacle Sponsor" designation the top slot at WCIT but it does involve both money and a couple thousand low-cost computers (aka "Personal Internet Communicators"). The PICs are designed to deploy easily in the developing world and, as such, are part of the company's ongoing 50x15 initiative to connect 50% of the world's population to the Internet by the year 2015.
It's a worthy goal. However, AMD's local critics of which there are many, owing to the company's decision to move its main Austin office complex from the Eastside to the environmentally sensitive southwest grumble every time the AMD logo pops up somewhere new. (The WCIT is not, technically, new AMD has been a sponsor for four years.) They also love nothing more than to use the sponsorship to spread their message that AMD is using its deep pockets to bribe the community into accepting its decision to move into an area major employers have long been dissuaded from locating. Note the personal dis the company got in January from Dan Rather (father of local environmentalist Robin Rather) at an AMD-sponsored speaker series, of which the Chronicle was also a sponsor. (See "Rather Visits, Weighs in on Local AMD Debate," Jan. 13, 2006.) One can only imagine the shenanigans that will ensue as the WCIT unfolds in May.
In the meantime, all these AMD dollars flowing hither and yon got us thinking. As everyone knows, Austin has many needs: Eastside activist Lori Renteria is trying to raise a few hundred dollars to stuff Homer the Homeless Goose. A few thousand dollars could stock one of our prairie remnants with a respectable herd of bison. Add a couple of zeroes, and you could do great things for AISD. But the needs don't stop there.
Below, we've gathered a list of worthy but under-the-radar organizations and causes we believe AMD might like to consider sponsoring. AMD representatives may contact Rachel Proctor May directly, or simply deposit a bag of cash in the squirrel feeder behind the Chronicle offices on I-35.
1) The Boddingtons' Coalition seeks funds with which to upgrade the next Chronicle kegger to the good stuff.
2) The 100x3x17 Initiative aims to dye 100% of the Town Lake swans green by next St. Patrick's Day.
3) People Against Potholes plans to slaughter two goats, a bull, and six chickens to the Asphalt Gods this summer solstice at midnight. They're seeking donations of cash or livestock.
4) Austin Against AIDS hopes to sheath the pointy thing on City Hall with a pointy thing-sized prophylactic to raise awareness of safe sex.
5) The Get to Know Gale Group is launching a PR campaign to teach Austin who Jennifer Gale is and what she stands for.
6) People Against Poop is kicking off a spay-neuter campaign for grackles. Also seeks prizes in their "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" recipe contest.
7) The 7x7x2 Initiative has as its goal that the seven rooms of RPM's house be cleaned daily by two well-built men in loincloths.
8) The Legible Alliance hopes to distribute a small magnifying glass with each copy of the Chronicle, so people can actually read the type.
9) Poop Not Potholes is seeking funds to repair Austin's roadways with a filler made from sustainably harvested grackle guano.
10) Every Hour is Happy Hour, a coalition of neighborhood activists, developers, and city beat journalists, is raising funds to install a margarita machine in City Council chambers.