The Dialogue Institute (DI) launched an unusual fundraising campaign this month called "10 for LEN," inspired by a chance encounter between DI Founder/President Leonard Swidler and Temple student, Tim Cornwell.
On September 20, 2016, Professor Swidler was walking across Temple’s main campus, on his way to teach his “World Religions” class—as he has been doing for the past 50 years.
Cornwell, a sophomore business major from Texas in his first year at Temple, was riding his skateboard when he accidentally ran into the 87-year-old Professor Swidler and knocked him down. Thankfully Len wasn't seriously hurt, and that unfortunate encounter turned quickly—as chance encounters often do with him—into an opportunity for dialogue.
A few hours later, on his own initiative, Tim made a $10 online donation to the Dialogue Institute (DI). He included this note with his donation: "Getting up like a champ after I knocked him down on my skateboard while coming towards oncoming traffic on Montgomery Avenue. I'm so sorry!"
A kind and thoughtful response, and a happy ending. But that's not all.
With the heartening reminder that dialogue can happen anywhere, anytime, and in that same spirit of generosity and reconciliation, the DI has created the “10 for LEN” Campaign—inviting others to help extend Tim's gift by giving $10 or more in honor of Professor Swidler’s unwavering, life-long commitment to dialogue (even when he gets knocked off his feet!). And in support of the DI’s ongoing work to engage religious, civic, business and academic leaders around the world in practicing the skills of respectful dialogue and critical thinking across lines of religion, culture and ideology.
Click here to donate to the campaign, and help give this story an even happier ending! And when you do, please share news of your gift and this Facebook link to the campaign with 10 other people on social media: "I just gave #10forLen! Will you?"