Thursday, December 15, 2011

The $100 Challenge

Living in America, we live in the richest country in the world.  In fact, we live in the richest country in the history of Mankind.  This is an amazing fact no matter how you look at it and we all benefit from it whether we are personally rich or not.  While we would all like to have more money, and few of us consider ourselves rich, as it stands we all live like kings by historical standards.  Things we take for granted such as running water and a heated home are really phenomenal luxuries when you think about what goes into it.  So in the land of plenty, how do we use our wealth in the most effective way and give back?  This is where the $100 challenge comes in.

I challenge you, the reader, to invest $100 of your money in making the world a better place today.  I do not mean invest in the stock market, but invest in your fellow man, your community, your neighbor, out of compassion rather than greed.  I chose $100 because I think its an amount that nearly everybody can obtain and depart with without starving to death.  I'll admit its difficult for me to part with the money, but in reality how many times do people blow $100 on a daily basis on impulse buys at the store, a night out at the bars, gambling, junk food, cable TV, etc.?  All the time.  I'm asking you to sacrifice those luxuries just once to invest in a better future.  If you don't have the money, sell something online to get it, or invest what you do have; $50, $20, $10.  But the challenge is to part with $100 for an investment in our future.  You will see that it is the best $100 you've ever spent.

The rules for the challenge are this:  1.  The money cannot be spent on yourself or anybody in your immediate family.  2.  The money must be spent to do good and make the world a better place.  3.  The money must be spent locally.  That's it.  You could go the old fashioned route of donating to a charity like Salvation Army or United Way.  That is a good way to spend your money and the good folks at these organizations and others like it will know how to use that money effectively.  But the challenge that I'm really calling upon you for is to be creative and make your money stretch as far as possible to do the most good in the world.  For example, if you live in an African village, you could put $100 toward building a water purification system.  Or, to be more effective, you could put $100 toward developing blue prints for water purification and training locals on how to implement those blueprints.  I heard a story on the bus the other day, where a man's daughter was saving  for years to go to Columbia after being influenced by a foreign exchange student.  A 92 year old neighbor heard the story and donated $1000 to her cause giving her the enrichment of travel abroad and the relationships that followed.  You could buy $100 worth of food and cook dinner at a soup kitchen.  Or, you could buy $100 worth of spaghetti, and treat all your friends to a fabulous dinner under the condition that they too participate in the $100 Challenge.  All of these ideas are valid and great investments in the future.  Please invest your $100 in the most creative and effective way possible, and tell your story in the comments below.

Remember, he who casts his bread unto open waters, shall find it again after many days.    You will see that it is the best $100 you have ever spent and will be returned to you ten fold.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Agaponzie!
    The mere act of considering how to invest $100 according to these rules is making me a better person. If I'm going to truly "invest" any amount of money, then I'm naturally going to expect some type of return. To me this means that simply spending $100 or giving someone $100 isn't enough. I need to use it in a way that will create real value, a way that will enable some kind of tangible benefit to my community. This benefit must have a value of more than $100 in order to be a worthy investment.
    The real "challenge" in the $100 Challenge is finding a creative way to enact change. In my opinion, giving to a charity may be noble, but it's not a good "investment". This is because a certain percentage of your donation will go towards administrative activities within the charity. The return on the investment is already somewhat diminished in this sense, not to mention the fact that you likely won't be able to witness firsthand the benefits you've created. I'm certainly not bashing the idea of giving to charities, but I think that Agaponzie is encouraging us to reach a higher level.
    When I said that this is already making me a better person, what I meant was that it's helping me see my environment in a new way. From this perspective, I'm able to consider what there is in my neighborhood that needs improvement, as well as what options I have for facilitating that improvement. I'm not sure how I'm going to spend my $100 yet, but I am committing myself to doing something that will create more than $100 in benefits for my community. When I make my decision, I'll post an update.
    Thanks for the inspiration, Agaponzie!