Back in January, I promised to donate 50% of all license fees generated by my book Free to Move: Foot vote, migration, and political freedom to charities that benefit refugees. Today is Giving Tuesday, so it’s a good time for me to keep my promise.
Oxford University Press says we’ve sold around 1,100 copies of the book for a few days since it was printed in late May (after a delay due to the coronavirus crisis). Based on my admittedly rough calculations, 50% of the royalties for this number of sales are around $ 1200.
I am therefore donating this amount to HIAS, one of the oldest, largest and most respected refugee aid organizations in America. This decision is due in part to HIAS’s high status and track record in refugee aid, and in part to the fact that other donors have promised to add up to $ 21,000 for all donations made to HIAS on Giving Tuesday double. Thus the donation has twice the “normal” effect.
I have consulted with leading immigration and refugee policy experts about other potential recipients of donations, and I will donate to some of these organizations in the future. I will announce these donations in due course. I should have extra funding when more copies of the book are sold, and the publisher will give me more detailed data on how many copies of which type have been bought (since royalties vary slightly depending on the format of the book and we have Hardcover, digital and audio versions, my promise also covers royalties on potential foreign language translations that I am researching.
For those interested, I’ll find that among the other organizations currently on my radar screen, Freedom For Immigrants and the Florence Project (both provide services to immigrants and refugees trapped in our horrific immigration detention system) and Second Tree ( that offers integration assistance and other services for refugees from the Syrian civil war and other recent conflicts in the Mediterranean region).
The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis have made the situation of refugees even worse than usual. Whether you have ever read or bought my book, I urge those who have the resources to contribute to charities that help refugees. Perhaps my admittedly modest donation can help spark the efforts of others.