How to Create Positive Change with $100
Who says one person can’t make a difference? Find out what five individuals did when they were each given $100 and assigned one simple task -to make a positive change in their community.
It’s now mission complete for the first wave of Community Change Agents of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce. In fall 2009 the chamber (which covers New Brunswick’s tri-community area of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview) gave ten members $100, 30 days and one instruction: Make a positive change in your community. The tongue-in-cheek covert operation, complete with a top secret CD delivering the mission’s directives, surpassed even the chamber’s hopes.
Here are five of the most innovative projects, which created buzz with the public and the local media.
GOAL: 5,000 bowls of soup for local food banks.
HOW HE DID IT: McGloin leveraged his $100 to treat local restaurant owners and managers to dinner and a hockey game in exchange for one ingredient of his soup. Then, when he recruited the public’s help to peel the hundreds of kilograms of donated vegetables, so many people showed up that the task, expected to take all day, was completed in two hours. And many volunteers arrived with even more vegetables, allowing Mc-Gloin to almost double his goal.
TOTAL MONETARY VALUE: $9,000.
GOAL: Change the public’s view of homeless people.
HOW HE DID IT: Using his seed money to purchase coffee coupons, Daniels recruited a street person by the name of Terry to stand on a corner in downtown Moncton and give away the coupons to passersby. The idea was to have a person who might normally ask for a handout instead give something of value to others.
TOTAL MONETARY VALUE: $100. But Daniels believes the true value of his social experiment can only be measured in people’s perceptions.
GOAL: Raise men’s cancer awareness.
HOW HE DID IT: Steen used his startup money to buy pizza and beer to attract 40 men to the local Harley-Davidson dealership for a cancer awareness night. The event, called “Check Yo’Self!,” featured a local doctor speaking about testicular and prostate cancer.
TOTAL MONETARY VALUE: Can you put a price on saving your own life?
GOAL: Help underprivileged children to be able to participate in recreational activities.
HOW SHE DID IT: Working with Business Riverview (a local business association) and P.R.O. Kids (Positive Recreation Opportunities for Kids), Harris used her seed money to promote “PROsperity Forum,” a night of community and entertainment that included a moving testimonial
from a mother of a P.R.O. Kids recipient.
TOTAL MONETARY VALUE: Almost $5,000 was raised, giving over 30 local children the chance to participate in cultural or sporting activities.
GOAL: Organize a benefit event for the YMCA of Greater Moncton’s food bank.
HOW HE DID IT: Silliker and his band, the Calico Jacks, recreated the 1969 London rooftop concert by The Beatles-but this time, on the roof of Moncton’s city hall. Using his $100 to offset the costs of a technical crew and sound equipment, Silliker’s band played six floors above, while volunteers on the ground collected nonperishable food and donations.
TOTAL MONETARY VALUE: $2,500 and close to 1,600 kilograms of canned goods.
This article was originally titled “Mission Possible” in the April 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!