Saturday, January 09, 2010

The $100 Project

Yesterday, I sent a letter to 20 randomly selected individuals that I know. Some are friends that I've had for years, some are new friends, some are family. The letter was sent in an effort to start a project... a project that I hope to see grow.

I was sitting in church a few Sundays back, thinking about money; how different people obtain it, how a certain importance is placed on it, and how it is used. I thought, there has to be a way to give a little bit to a lot of people in order to do something big. And then, the $100 Project was born in my mind. 

I often get big ideas, but I seldom act on them. However, this is one I had to act on.

I have had this project in my prayers for a few weeks now, and my prayer is that it will be a blessing to more people than I could have ever imagined. It will start out by taking 20 giving hearts, but it has the potential to affect endless amounts of people. My hope is that the money itself is only a catalyst to give more than just monetarily... that it would inspire others to give of their time, their hearts, their ears, their care, their concern, their aid, and their love.

Ultimately, my prayer is that God will get the glory, and many lives will be touched.

I would like to conduct this project again in the near future. For now, the first batch of 20 received instruction to comment on this post if they wanted to share how their story of giving took place. I may get 0 comments or I may get 20; my goal is not to see how many comments I can get, but to inspire hearts to genuine generosity. May God get all the glory for this act of giving.

Here is the letter:

Most of us have heard of the “pay-it-forward” concept. Today I was thinking about creative ways to give that would generate further giving. I love the idea of copious lives being touched, starting with just one person who knows 20 people. What if those 20 people each gave in a way that would touch even just one more persons’ life? That is one person, one individual, one soul who I may not even know, but now through this “giving” process, it’s another life touched.

This project cannot be successful without your help. Your task is simple. Enclosed with this letter, you will find a $5 bill. It may not seem like much, but it can help buy a small lunch, a cup of coffee, or even a few pairs of socks for someone who doesn’t have any.

Chances are, you know of someone who is in need of something. My prayer is that as you read this letter, someone comes to your mind. If not, pray for an opportunity to use your $5. Whether if it’s to purchase something for someone who needs it, or if it is to take a friend out for coffee who needs a listening ear, I want you to bless someone else with this money. Let the Spirit lead you.

In doing so, you will have another experience in generosity, and a story to tell. In whatever way you choose to give, my prayer is that your act of generosity will be an encouragement to that person to also “pay it forward.” As the process continues, many people will be blessed!

If you would like to share your “$5 Story” of giving, visit my blog at I am going to have a special post that will run for about 2 weeks, and I would love to hear how God used your experience! Comment on the post to share. If you don’t want to be public about it, drop me a note—I love mail!

I recently heard that “We should focus more on the Giver than the gift. We can be content with what we have when we realize that with God we have everything we need." (Eccl. 5:19,20) With those thoughts in mind, may our thoughtfulness, time, and joy of Christ give more to the person than the $5 that started it in the first place.

God bless you!


*Note- this post will remain for 2 weeks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the challenge Taryn! Brad and I both received a letter. I was passing someone's house yesterday and thought it would be nice to take cupcakes to her three boys. Then I remembered that Brad had $5 too . . . so I dropped off a rotissarie chicken dinner and some cupcakes from the deli. It was so freeing to spend this money creatively for someone else . . . treating it as "God's" money. Then the thought hit me . . . all that God has entrusted to me is His. Hmmmm. I should be so free and generous with it all!

Richelle said...

Hi Taryn! Thought this was a really neat idea.

I live in Chicago now, and I pass by people asking for money ALL THE TIME. I'm not used to seeing this kind of poverty; walking by this every day without helping does something to me. Makes me feel helpless in a way.

Anyway, your letter reminded me that I CAN help even if I don't have much myself.

Because you inspired giving in me, I decided to do the same to someone else. (i can't take the credit--- got this idea from something i read online at the Happiness Project). I wrote quotes about giving all over the 5 dollar bill. I then planted it visibly in the salsa section of grocery store.

I hope that the person who found it was 1. excited! 2. curious 3. challenged to think about giving in a new way

thanks, Taryn!