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The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Creative Microphilanthropy The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Creative Microphilanthropy

The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Creative Microphilanthropy

by Courtney Martin
December 2, 2011


Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge ourselves to improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for December? To give away $30 (total for the month, not every single day) in the most creative and inspiring way possible. It doesn't have to be $30. It could just be $10. Or even a single dollar. We're aiming to make giving more creative and personal.

Pop quiz: when you hear the word philanthropist, who comes to mind?

For most of us, it's someone like Bill Gates, striding through an African village, smiling at cute kids. Or maybe Bill Clinton sitting on a stage, flanked by a couple of much-celebrated social entrepreneurs.

In fact, according to a study by the Women's Philanthropy Institute, the Americans who give away the biggest proportion of their own income are women who make $23,509 or less a year, not ridiculously wealthy white dudes named Bill. Philanthropy isn’t just multimillion-dollar checks and large-scale public health interventions. It’s also small acts of care, creativity, and a dollar donation equivalent to forgoing a fancy lunch. 

Which brings us to the The GOOD Challenge for December: “creative microphilanthropy.” We're asking each member of the GOOD community to give away $30 (total for the month, not every single day) in the most creative and inspiring way you can think of. The GOOD staff is all participating, and we invite you to do the same. Try the label of philanthropist on for size. Make giving more creative and personal. It doesn't have to be $30. It could just be $10. Or even a single dollar. It's the act of giving–and giving creatively—that counts.
 
The goal here is to give away a little cash and do it in a way that enlivens and surprises. It's our attempt to put the experience of real, awesome human interaction back into philanthropy.

For inspiration, check out The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, an effort I started about seven years ago. I’ve been doling out small chunks of money to my most creative friends, and they’ve showered it on humanity in the most zany ways. Jared paid for the people behind him in line to go to New York’s coolest museums. Mary actually bought one of those CDs from a guy hawking his rap album on the street, listened to it, and had a real dialogue with him about what she heard. Karl made the clinic where he was receiving chemo treatments a little bit brighter.

As usual, consider this post an open invitation to join in the challenge. Throughout the month, we'll post inspiring ideas for giving away small sums. On Twitter and Facebook, we'll be using the hashtag #30DaysofGOOD to keep you abreast of our progress, and we hope you'll use it to let us know how you're faring as well.
 
Now get out there and give a little somethin’ to the world.

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