HOW I SPENT $100

Last month I had a contest on this blog.  The title of the blog was “The Social Media Ladder“, and I offered to give away $100 in a random drawing to someone who helped me out by commenting, tweeting, and otherwise mentioning my blog.

The contest winner was Krista Francis, an HR pro from the D.C. area that I got to know on Twitter.  You can watch my announcement video below (which I previously posted on HR University but neglected to post on this site).

Krista was sent her book and $100 cash prize.  Then I received the following email from her detailing how she spent that money:

Thank you again for the opportunity to win $100 in your social media ladder contest. But as thrilled as I was to win, I had the unsettling feeling that I didn’t especially deserve it. Winning was a matter of chance, after all.  As difficult as 2009 was for so many, most of us at least have the bottom rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs covered: safety, security. Food. A roof. Clean water. Family.

Africa-born and raised, I know the things we take for granted are not necessarily givens in much of the world. So when your $100 fell into my lap, I decided to pass it on to others in greater need, specifically women and children who make up the vast majority of the extreme poor in the world.

The first $25 went to Kiva.org. Along with dozens of others, we helped Evelyn in Nigeria secure a $1000 loan to buy more inventory (cloths, sarongs) for her market stall. When she repays the loan, I will lend the principle to another small entrepreneur trying to better his/her life. I also donated a 15% surcharge, or 3.75, to help meet Kiva’s administrative charges.

The second $25 we donated to the employee recognition fund at Jubilee Association, the nonprofit where I work. Jubilee serves people with developmental disabilities, but you may be interested to know that we didn’t choose to direct the donation to them. As the human resources director, I preferred to designate the monies for the employee recognition fund. Our staff work very hard, sacrificing much, for meager wages and little prestige. Indeed, $25 seemed a tiny amount, which is why I give the rest of my life to this cause.

Next, $20 went to Heifer International. Our gift will provide a flock of baby chicks to a family in the developing world. The chicks will grow into chickens, which will provide eggs, which will provide food and revenue. Bonus: as part of the program, the recipient is required to pass on some chicks to someone else so that they can start their own flock.

The next $25 went to Global Mission,which provides education and care to orphans in Jos, Nigeria, where I was born.

That leaves $1.25. I gave $2.00 to a homeless woman huddling against the 20 degree weather on the corner of Democracy & Old Georgetown in Bethesda.

So there we go. $100 given away in five days. A fun and gratifying exercise, though one that left me with the aching knowledge that I had omitted so many noble causes: clean water, violence against women, child exploitation, literacy, health care, and so many more.

Wow.  Here is a woman who gets a $100 windfall and promptly gives it away.  Then, this past week, I received a message from her saying it was too bad, given the events in Haiti, that she had already donated the money elsewhere.

I’m proud to know this person and happy that she won my little contest.

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