outcooled: volume 3: SSCP


What can $100 do these days?

It could obtain me about 33 1/3 average-priced single lattes. It could pay my phone bill- if I didn’t roam for more than 45 seconds. It could buy a few records, or a lot of crappy candy. [Circus Peanut, anyone?]

From where I’m sitting, $100 can’t seem to do much at all anymore. And if you’ve been paying any attention to the economists the past year-and-change, you may agree. But such inflation-influenced-intuition may be  askew. In fact, we’re downright wrong. Why? I’ll tell you. But only if you can keep a secret.

The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy (SSCP for short) started in 2006. Headquartered in the Bay area of San Francisco, the premise is simple: Average Joes & Josephines are invited to use $100 to improve the lives of others in an innovative way. Examples of creative philanthropy include:

  • Giving strangers umbrellas on a rainy day
  • Changing it to 400 quarters and scattering it about an elementary school playground for children to find during recess
  • Making care packages to send to college students on foreign missions trips
  • Buying a round for a bar full of people
  • Investing $100 for your great grandchildren to give away in 100 years (They would be giving away over $2 million.)

Besides San Fran, the Society has clans of crafty do-gooders dispersed throughout chapters in New York and my former home-away-from-home, Athens (Georgia, not Greece: I always have to say that).

Although they have received press and radio exposure more and more often recently, no one describes SSCP better than they do: “If you believe in magic and giving turns you on, this is for you”. To find out more, visit their site (linked in this post) and follow them on Twitter @sscpsuperagent.

Spring is here. Everything looks happy and green, except the average bank account. We all feel a little down on our luck these days. But what if we had a little more in our hands to give?  The Secret Society of Creative Philanthropy and its agents understand the beauty of giving. Giving, especially without expectation of receiving (or as a random act of kindness) is more liberating than a swim in Scrooge McDuck’s pool full of money. It is more delicious than a candy necklace. It is more fun than playing “Popcorn” on a trampoline- and considerably less hazardous.

I can’t give you $100. But I can give you a shot of inspiration. You don’t have to brighten someone’s life with Benjamins, you can do it with Grants, Georges, or even Abrahams, if you use the ole Noodle.

And to all the agents in the SSCP, a Secret High Five. Congratulations for Outcooling me. I would give you all umbrellas, if you weren’t so hidden away and wily.

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