Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, lunches are an annual tradition for longtime friends David Paul, Karl Anuta, and David McDonald.
But they’re not nearly as threatening as they sound. They consist of the three buddies, who met during law school, meeting for several hours, enjoying good food, catching up, and deciding what causes and organizations they want to financially support that year.
According to David McDonald, who lives in Washington but has offices in Portland, each person picks three organizations to which the others write checks. In the end, each person writes about six checks, although that sometimes “gets fudged,” he says. “The picking of the organizations is totally up to each person,” he adds. Also, the person who writes the least amount buys lunch, “so there is some incentive to up the ante, if you will.”
“It is a joyous event every year,” David says.
Some of them have beneficiaries they’ve been devoted to for years—including Friends of Mount Hood, Friends Foundation International, The Nature Conservancy, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge—but they also try to support different organizations each year. Or they’ll choose organizations based on current events, such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Twice, David McDonald has selected North Coast Land Conservancy as his beneficiary. He started visiting Manzanita when he moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1983 and “fell in love.”
“I have spent many, many, many days on the North Coast ever since and have watched your organization grow and do good work so, that is how you got picked,” David says.
The MAD lunches, which were a natural evolution of the men’s friendship, have now been taking place several decades.
“For people who are committed to providing some of their funds to charitable groups that share our common values, this sure as hell is a fun way to do it,” he says.