Obama's Doodle Going to Charity
Posted at 6:30 AM (PST) on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Sketch Going to Charity, Redux
By Sarah Wheaton
January 19, 2009
New York Times

Many – most recently, The Times’s Michiko Kakutani – have explored President-elect Barack Obama's talents as a writer. Less well known, however, is his capacity for caricatures.

In May 2007, Wayne Berzon, a financial executive in the Chicago area, won a doodle by Mr. Obama in an auction to support Neurofibromatosis, Inc., a national advocacy group for sufferers of the genetic disorder. He paid $2,000 for the sketch, and starting today, everyone else can purchase all manner of swag adorned with the signed doodle for considerably less than that. After recouping his costs, Mr. Berzon said, he’ll donate the profits back to Neurofibromatosis, Inc.

"I just thought it's appropriate on the eve of his inauguration that we continue with the effort that he put forth," Mr. Berzon said.

The doodle would be at home on the pages of The New Yorker, with simple, light-hearted renditions of Senators Charles E. Schumer, Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Edward M. Kennedy.

Mr. Berzon said he has been working on using the sketch for fund-raising since he saw Mr. Obama’s victory speech in November.

"I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s got this overwhelming appeal to people,’” he said, adding, "There must've been something meant to be great by this."

Neurofibromatosis is a "genetic disorder which causes tumors to form on nerves anywhere in the body," Rosemary Anderson, vice president of Neurofibromatosis, Inc., explained to us in 2007, and it is more common than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease combined.

In addition to selling T-shirts and mugs online, Mr. Berzon said he is also in talks with sports franchises and fast food chains to put Mr. Obama's drawing on cups and other paraphernalia in May, during which the group holds its "Doodle Day" fund-raiser.

"I've gotta take it out of the safety deposit box, and I've got to find some way to help his work expand itself," Mr. Berzon said.

The new line of products can be found at wwww.cafepress.com/obamadoodle and www.theobamadoodle.com.