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The McLaughlin Foundation 2003 Altogether for The Garden Calendar in which some members apparently misplaced their clothing for a fundraiser


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Portland, Maine ? Forget the rummage sales and pancake breakfasts. For serious fund-raising, posing in the buff for calendars seems to be the ticket.

An extraordinary number of ordinary people are shedding their clothes and posing for the pages of calendars to raise money for everything from medical research to elderly programs.


Thousands of the calendars have been published in the past couple of years, raising more than $1.5 million for at least 40 causes.


The latest is a group of gardening enthusiasts who hope to raise $150,000 with a calendar of themselves – unclad.


The McLaughlin Foundation concluded that a calendar was the only viable way to raise a large amount of money to pay off the mortgage for the foundation’s historic gardens and homestead in Paris, Maine.


“You don’t send a man to the moon with a rummage sale,” said Lee Dassler, the group’s executive director, and Ms. November in the 2003 Altogether for the Garden calendar.


It showcases adults in poses with strategically placed wheelbarrows, shovels and other gardening implements.

The idea of older men and women stripping for a calendar would have seemed far-fetched, if not ludicrous, not long ago.


That was before a group of proper ladies from Rylstone, England – a hamlet of 40 houses in northern England – made a 2000 calendar of discreet nude photographs of themselves in various housewifely activities. They wanted to remind people that a little erotic fun can be appealing – regardless of age, gender or social class.


Along the way, they sold close to 100,000 calendars and raised more than $750,000 for leukemia research. They also served as an inspiration for others, including a growing number in the United States.


In Vermont, the 2002 Men of Maple Corner calendar – featuring men ages 60 to 78 in various stages of undress – raised more than $500,000, far surpassing the modest goal of $30,000 for improvements to the local community center in Calais, Vt. Proceeds from the 2003 calendar will benefit at least 11 nonprofit groups.


Members of the McLaughlin Foundation a Maine gardening organization hope to raise 50,000 with a calendar featuring gardening enthusiasts in the buff. From left are models Judy Gideonse, David Stanley and Andrea Burns, shown with the group's 2003 calendar. Proceeds will help pay off the foundation's mortgage.

In Aiken, S.C., the Still Magnolias calendar raised nearly $180,000 for the Aiken Area Council on Aging. The calendar features photos of women ages 60 to 84 golfing, knitting, playing the piano.


“We’ve done the dances, bake sales, rummage sales,” said Becky Robbins, one of the calendar organizers. “We were so excited because instead of making $2,000, we had a chance to make $160,000 or $170,000.”


The words “naked” and “calendar” used to conjure up images of Playboy pinups.


The new calendars, which show more wrinkles than curves, are the antithesis of glossy calendars with professional models, and that’s precisely why they’ve become such a hit, said Bob Morton, chairman of the Naturist Education Foundation, a group that promotes nudism.


“What sells it is that it’s everyday people,” said Morton, whose group is based in Oshkosh, Wis. “You might open up one of these calendars and say, ‘Wow, there’s Paul. I didn’t know he had a mole there.'”

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