passed the Dessert Truck last night after leaving a reading in the East
Village. As I looked at the menu a woman approached me and said,
"You’re getting free dessert tonight… on me!"
I didn’t have time to freak out and wonder if she was trying to pick me
up. "Really? Thanks. Why?" I asked, wondering what the catch was. She
had received $100 and had been instructed to give it away before the
Thursday night $100 Party.
"What better way to spend $100 on other people than to buy them dessert, right!?"
The philanthropist was a journalist/author named Hannah Seligson. And,
after a little further research, I discovered that the $100 Party was
the brainchild of another writer, Courtney E. Martin. She created the Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, a network of people who receive $100 and then pass it on to others. Then, the following year, they will give $100 to someone else, who will then give it away, a pay-it-forward scheme with good intentions. Here’s the invite that Seligson received:
"You are cordially invited to become a member of the Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy—an enterprise I started last year of creative giving, spontaneous compassion, and excessive drinking (you don’t have to be involved in the excess part). Your mission is to (1) give away $100 (which I have either already given you or plan to give you asap) to anyone, anywhere, in any creative method you choose, and (2) come to a party in January and tell us about the experience."
It resembles the idea of those micro loans that help people make their lives better without the need of big NGOs or government subsidies. Why couldn’t the hedge fund guys couldn’t do something like it and help their fellow New Yorkers in small ways instead of splurging on fab pads with those big bonus checks?
I didn’t gobble down my chocolate cake right away since, even more than free dessert, I’m anxious to know: "How do I get in on the $100 action?" Tonight’s the party where the good-doers reveal what they did with their cash. And, like a true New Yorker, an act of philanthropy has turned to envy: I want $100 to do it myself.