This independent TEDx event is operating under license from TED
June 30th, 2010

Expedition Expense Breakdown

When I put out our call to ask for help funding the Expedition, I promised full and complete disclosure of what our expenses were and how we were putting your money to work. Not only did I figure this was the fair thing to do, but I also wanted to put a little transparency into what it takes to undertake an operation like this for educational purposes in case others want to try to do something like it in the future. Here’s the data:

Our recorded expenses in the Gulf of Mexico for the Expedition and to Washington DC to present our images and stories add up to $13,816.08. That doesn’t include the odd $1.00 toll or pack of M&Ms or beef jerky or batch of Cherry Limeades (yay, Sonic!) that didn’t make it into the accounting. It also doesn’t include a few expenses that I’ve not heard about from the other team members. But, it does include airplanes, cars, boats, meals, and lodging. In short, it’s almost the full accounting.

Here’s how it breaks out:

Airfare: $6,135.78. This is for flying five people to both New Orleans and Washington DC on short notice from various parts of the country. There’s no good way to take advantage of cheap fares when you’re on a deadline and when there aren’t any fare wars going on. Seaplane: $4275. This was for two flights out to the source with one returning via Barataria Bay and the other via Gulf Shores, Alabama. Hotels: $1732.06. Our most frequented stay was La Quinta. One night was at the Holiday Inn Express. Another was at a non-name place in Grand Isle, an amazingly hard place to find a hotel right now given all the workers staying on the island. The most expensive hotel nights were in Washington DC, of course.

Food: $751.45. This item came in much cheaper than I expected. Possibly because the Washington DC food expenses weren’t centralized. Mostly, we just ate very economically. I think our biggest splurge was a dinner at Chevy’s one night. Car Rental: $418.82 for our black Nissan Xterra. I’m sure the Hertz didn’t appreciate having to clean out the sand from all of our beach excursions. Gas: $168.92. Of course, we always avoided BP gas stations. Taxi: $160 for schelpping people around in Washington DC. Boat: $140. We didn’t spend much on big boats because none were to be found. All we were able to score was a flatboat. Still, we got a great deal on this. Ferry: $34 between Dauphin Island and Alabama.

The expenses tallied, lets look at the income side of the equation:

$6728.98 has been given through 140 donations as of June 30th. The average donation was $48.06. After PayPal fees of $248.44, that gives us $6480.54 to apply to our expenses. I’m currently working through the process of getting money out of PayPal right now, but I expect to have that taken care of soon.

If anybody was worried about funding our vacations after the TEDxOilSpill event, they don’t need to be. You’ll note that the expense balance will be $7335.54 after we get the current donation balance out of PayPal. We’re all still underwater by a good deal on this on out of pocket expenses. But there may be other opportunities to recoup some costs along the way. Furthermore, we knew the risks going in and are quite happy that the donations have covered as much as they have. For that, we thank you. —Duncan

If you’d like to help us out a bit more, please consider donating via PayPal.

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June 28, 2010
Washington, DC