‘96 alum takes cross-country philanthropic road trip

By Emilie Plesset, Online Opinions Editor

A road trip through all 50 states, Canada, Washington D.C. and Mexico may seem daunting to some, but it is not a problem for 1996 alumnus Keith Donohue.  In February, Donohue started 50Give, a four-month journey dedicated to charity and volunteering.  At each location he visits Donohue volunteers for a different non-profit organization, charity or worthy cause.

The 50Give journey is one of the first projects of Positive Present, an organization founded by Donohue and dedicated to making a positive impact.  Donohue stays an average of two to three days in each location, helping specific causes with whatever assistance or aid is needed. 

“I wanted to do a tour across the US to increase volunteering for people in their 20s and 30s and to help the non-profits that I researched get national recognition,” Donohue said.

Donohue also allows people to track his journey and learn about each organization he helps by following his blog on www.50give.com.  According to his online journal, he has volunteered in various ways, from preparing food at schools to writing thank you cards to people who donated their eyeglasses.

“They are all good experiences,” Donohue said. “The non-profits treat me like a celebrity.”

Donohue has gained many different experiences throughout his trip. He has been on television promoting the adoption of older dogs in animal shelters and has also spent the day in a wheelchair to promote awareness of the consequences of drunk driving.

“You learn a major lesson from the non-profits,” Donohue said. “My soul was born in the United States in a pretty stable environment; I could easily have been born in an unfavorable situation where I fight for my life every day.”

The preparation for the 50Give journey required four months of research, and Donohue had to work three jobs for five months to save up enough money to fund the trip.  According to the 50Give website, followers can donate money to help him finance the journey, and surplus funds not used for 50Give will be donated to the charities involved.

Donohue’s passion for philanthropy developed after he graduated from CHS.  As a student, Donohue was on the boys varsity soccer team for all four years and played on a club team outside of school.  The student service learning credit requirement did not exist when Donohue was a student, and therefore he did very little volunteering in his youth.

“I wish they had mandatory hours,” Donohue said. “I think it’s great.”

Before starting his 50Give journey, Donohue lived in San Diego coaching youth soccer and managing a tea room for the Red Lotus Society, a non-profit organization that uses classes and programming to educate about peace.

According to Donohue, the organization also plans to create and sell athletic apparel with uplifting sayings.

“You just have to roll with whatever situation presents itself,” Donohue said. “You just have to be positive.”