Fresh Living

When author Courtney Martin got a six-figure book advance, she decided to share the wealth. In addition to donating to established non-profits, she started giving $100 chunks to friends and asking them to donate it however they wanted. So cool! This is all in an article in today’s New York Times on Martin’s resulting “Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy.”

This year her benefactees did things like….

“Turned the writing of New York City children in a literacy nonprofit into books.”

“Distributed 10,000 pennies to friends throughout the country to drop so there would be more lucky pennies for people to find.”

“Slipped $100 into a thank-you card and asked a friend to give it to the clerk at her local Duane Reade who makes her feel like a million bucks whenever she buys toothpaste.”

“Gave $100 to the most frequent commenter on her Web site, who turned out to be a former correction officer aspiring to write.”

“Donated $60 to the Red Cross for Haitian earthquake relief, and $40 to a man on the subway who gives sandwiches to the homeless.”

“Fixed an old bicycle he found on the street to give to someone whose bike was stolen.”

Here’s one recipient who begged people on NYC subways to take money from him.


Martin told the Times she doesn’t think these small gestures will change the world (though I beg to differ–the butterfly effect and all that), but says “a visceral engagement with joy and spontaneity, and injecting more of that into our lives” is really important. Amen, sister.

How would you joyfully and creatively give away $100?

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