Therefore, after we decided this new directive, we contacted some important, relatively silent, supporters/partners (which must remain anonymous until a decision has been made) to inquire as to whether they could help us succeed. They are in the process of making that decision with the help of some analysis that my partners and I are working on. This analysis will determine the a) viability of documenting images in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, and b) the costs associated with embarking on this adventure, for lack of a better word.
I am working on determining the viability of the endeavor. I have contacted some of our supporters currently in country that work in MWR facilities across Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, I have sent inquiries to some contacts within the Defense Department and other military agencies. Lastly, I have inquired with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense in Public Affairs OASD (PA). According to government policy, the Defense Department grants members of the press access to certain military units deployed to operations around the globe in part to show some transparency to these operations to further democratic ideals. This policy is very strict as to the guidelines organizations must follow, but I found it encouraging news to our cause. The viability is definitely there! We CAN be embedded in country for the purpose of media exposure. Now, on to cost analysis.
In the interest of ensuring the success of the new directive, we are going to try to raise as much funds (personal and through donations and merchandise sales) to deflect some of the cost associated with sending a member of our team to Southwest Asia. We have completed the paperwork for the non-profit, Graffiti of War Foundation and are awaiting approval from the West Virginia Secretary of State (we do not plan on raising more than $20,000 at the beginning so in the interest of time, we will not file for 501(c)(3) until we receive our status from the State). We will also be creating a fundraising site on www.Kickstarter.com where we will be awarding merchandise for donations of a certain amount. All of the proceeds will be going to fund the excursion to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
I will be submitting the viability/cost analysis by next week to our anonymous supporter/partner. We hope to hear whether we have attained their official support for the project in the few weeks that follow. As soon as we hear the news, you can be sure we will be posting it on Facebook as well as on our blog. In the mean time, we need anyone and everyone to send us their comments, their suggestions, their support, and their advice to us via this blog post, Facebook and our email.
This new opportunity could be the only one we will need to push this project all the way to the finish line! No question about it. So, pray to whatever God you pray to, or if you are not of faith, just keep this project and us in your thoughts, we need all the support we can get. As always, all of us remain commited to this project to the very end.
Jaeson "Doc" Parsons