The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Fellow Man

So what does this cynical blogger really dig? Stuff like this: The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy. The SSCP is an organization whose sole focus is…well… giving. They have chapters in New York, San Fransisco, and Athens. The welcoming message on their website is this:

“So you’re a human being with an imagination and something to give? Well done. You’ve met all the requirements for becoming a creative philanthropist. The next step is to give genuinely and joyfully.”

What do they do? They give out grants of $100 to people willing to figure out ways how to give it away in a manner that draws attention to the act of giving, generosity of spirit, and doing good for your fellow human beings. Some people have taken the grant and given out $5 or $1 bills on the street. Some creative philanthropists bought $100 worth of umbrellas and gave them away to people in the rain. Some folks just bought $100 worth of pizza and gave it away. So how did this all get started?

Here’s the origin story from their website:

“Once upon a time there was a girl. She had a lot of anxiety about money—who has it, who doesn’t, how we decide that this is fair. This anxiety became even more pronounced when she, herself, was suddenly gifted with more money than she had ever dreamed of making.

She bought all of her friends pizza. But all the cheesy goodness in the world could not quiet the nagging voice in her head that asked: Why me? How and when and in what way is the best way to share?

The girl didn’t know much, but she had a hunch that giving should be joyful. She also knew that her friends were good at joy, so she gave ten of them $100 each and asked them to give it away in some creative manner, then come to a bar and share the story. They did. They were beautiful and good and thoughtful and reminded her that every difficult question is better entertained with friends and a beer.

The next year, to her surprise, many of these ten friends gave away $100 to their friends, who gave in creative ways and came to tell their stories. The answers multiplied and the family grew. And keeps on growing…

So, want to join the creative philanthropists? Contact them and tell them your idea for giving joyfully. I have wanted to participate in this project since I found out about it, I just can’t think of anything creative enough yet.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on March 2, 2010.

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