For the past 12 years the Raleigh Charter High School has been our neighbor. We have been pleasantly surprised to find that a high school can be a great neighbor, at least this one. The staff and students are energetic and creative, as demonstrated below.

One of the RCHS art students sold me this awesome squirrel playing guitar!

This summer the school is moving to a new location. I recently attended an open house to see the partly finished space. While there I ran into Dr. Sally Humble, my high school English teacher who I hadn’t seen in 26 years. At one point I found myself giving a speech about the importance of good writing in the business world and how few people can write a complete sentence.

That’s when it hit me that I wasn’t born with the ability to write. I can write because of Sally and teachers like her who worked hard to train me. They did it because they cared about their students, certainly not for the money or fame. I will always be grateful for the teachers who helped me to get where I am.

As it turned out, that was a perfect moment to feel grateful, because a few minutes later I learned that the Raleigh Charter High School needs money to finish their new building. The next day Alien Skin Software donated to this worthy cause.

That got me thinking that it isn’t fair for Alien Skin’s donations to only be directed to my pet causes. So, starting now we have a new benefit. Once a year, each person in the company gets to choose a charity to receive $1000. Here is the list we just donated to. Some people split their money between multiple charities.

I hope this inspires you or perhaps your employer to think about everyone who got you where you are and pay it forward to organizations improving the world today.

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. Timothy Griffin June 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I applaud your generousity. I number of years ago my siblings and I decided that instead of buying x-mas gifts, each year one of us would select a favorite charity and we would all donate to that charity in our parents name.

  2. Sally Humble June 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Jeff–What a wonderful person you are, both in appreciating others and passing that appreciation on to those in need. On the news tonight I saw a story about an elementary school principal in Las Vegas who is providing food, clothes, haircuts, and other necessities to her students because 500 of 600 students at her school are homeless. It is a terrible thing that so many are suffering in a nation where some have so much. What you are doing with your company is outstanding, both in your achievements and in the work atmosphere you have created.

    Thanks for your kind words about teaching/learning. I am in Stone Mountain GA this week working with teachers at Shiloh High School/Gwinnett County in an AP Institute. I show them the curriculum we developed at Enloe, and they yearn for students who could do the level of work you and your classmates were able to do. The best among these teachers only asks his students to read 5-6 book in a school year in 12th grade AP English. It is amazing, in retrospect, that those Enloe classes were so willing to go with me on that difficult journey of reading and writing that I wanted to pursue.

    Aside from the memories and relationships with Tom, our children, and their children, I count those years at Enloe as my greatest blessing in life. It was the job I loved most, and I treasure my memories of Enloe students and the grand times we had together. You were all inspiring, entertaining, generous, brilliant and kind.

    It was great to see you again. I am glad to have your present face to put beside my vivid memory of how you looked in high school. Seeing my former Enloe students as adults and learning about their work, their attitudes toward life, their ambitions, achievements, and their generosity give me a great deal of hope for the world.


  3. Peter Denton June 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Hey. Hats off to you guys for putting your money where your mouth is. Gives me another reason to be happy to own and use your products. I also think that reading about the excellent example you are setting should inspire others to do likewise. If everyone were to do what they could as often as they were able, imagine what a world we would live in and how quickly things would get better. Thanks for the wake up call!

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