Speaking of good works, we recently saw a copy of a letter written by Michael Neu, vice-president of Boller Coates Spadaro, a corporate-communications firm based in Chicago. The letter discussed the plight of a former employee who has AIDS and who has begun to suffer from crippling arthritis. "Now he is unable to work," wrote Neu, "and government agencies say it can take months to approve welfare and/or disability income. He is broke and without family. He desperately needs our help. He cannot afford basic needs such as rent, food, and laundry, not to mention the costs of the medicines he requires." Neu asked people to mail contributions to a fund he had set up at a local bank.

Neu had sent the letter to 500 individuals and companies he and his firm do business with, including some of the largest and most conservative corporations in the country. "Some people were very worried about sending this out," Neu says. "Let's face it, AIDS is not a popular disease in the corporate community." Maybe not, but the letter elicited more than 100 donations -- "and the donors included some of the very CEOs who gave us the most concern about sending the letter in the first place."

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