NPR logo Inspiring Giving, $100 At A Time

Inspiring Giving, $100 At A Time

The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, in San Francisco, is all about altruism. Founder Courtney Martin laid the groundwork, as a writer living in New York City, when each year she gave out $100 of her own money to a handful of people, who agreed to use the money to do good in creative ways. Now, in San Francisco, her society has run into unanticipated difficulties: Good deeds being met with the "what's the catch?" mindset. Still, they've had some successes. Per Steve Rubenstein at the San Francisco Chronicle,

Jeremy Mende took a stack of cash to Union Square and offered pairs of strangers $1 apiece if they would have one-on-one conversations with each other. Then he videotaped the conversations and made a home movie.

The strangers talked to each other about sex, fireworks, banana slugs, gin, orgasms and Marlon Brando. Some of the conversations were worth a lot more than $1.

What act of altruism would you commit with $100? I think I'd head over to the grocery store, where bunches of daffodils are about $1.75 apiece. I'd spend my money there, then go all over my office delivering fresh flowers. Sounds like fun!