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Pennies Count

Did you know? The Statue of Liberty was funded from the pennies of the people? France's government funded the statue itself, as a gift to the U.S., but the pedastal, a granite plinth, would cost $250,000. A committee tried to raise the funds, but fell short. Congress, State and City governments couldn't find a way to pay. Other cities (Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and San Francisco) were happy to pay for the pedastal--on the condition the statue would be built in their locations.

Then, Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World paper, tried something new. He asked the people--the regular citizens of New York--to fund the statue's home.

"We must raise the money!" the article exhorted its readers. "The $250,000 that the making of the Statue cost was paid in by the masses of the French people--by the working men, the tradesmen, the shop girls, the artisans--by all, irrespective of class or condition."

"Let us respond in like manner" the article continued. "Let us not wait for the millionaires to give us the money. It is not a gift from the millionaires of France to the millionaires of America, but a gift of the whole people of France to the whole people of America."

Pulitzer put the power of his newspaper behind the effort. Every name of every giver was published in the paper--no matter how much they gave. Most gave less than a dollar. But from the time the article appeared, March 16, to August 11, 1885, some 160,000 men, women and children donated, raising $101,091--enough to finish the pedestal.

Since that time, how many hundreds of millions of Americans and visitors have gazed upon the Statue of Liberty? Yet it would never have been constructed, had it not been for the power of people and their pennies.

Imagine the satisfaction of those everyday people, to look upon the greatest monument to American freedom, and to know that they helped make that happen?

If you'd like to contribute to fund a groundbreaking new film, please check the website: Let's see if we can put the "pennies of the people" to work, once again!

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