As I begin my 68th year of life, I know I have been very blessed. This birthday came with an unusual "present"--a shortfall in funding for my efforts to support the work of Siena Italian Studies and our new Foundation for Intercultural Exchange, which is devoted to developing scholarships for needy students to have a study-abroad experience. While funding for the foundation is moving ahead, support for my work has hit a glitch, at least for the next two to three months. I am well aware of the many causes needing support as we enter the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I hope nonetheless that some of my friends and contacts reading this appeal will feel they can make a contribution of any size over the next few weeks to help me through this shortfall period. I thank you so much!