Though only in her twenties, she was working as a senior director for Inova Health System in Virgina, and one day she got an idea. She wanted to do something positive for others, and she thought with a small amount of money, she could get others to contribute organizations that were already making a difference.
She was excited about the idea, so she told her boss, Knox, who had been a CEO of Inova for thirty years. His response was, “That is nice, Currie Rich, but could you go back to work now?” but then two months later for her birthday, he gave her a card. In it were two things–$100 and a quote attributed to john Wesley: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all ways you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
She received the money with excitement. From her grateful heart, she showed appreciation. Prior to the birthday gift, she wrote to organizations in Washington; DC; Haiti; Tanzania; and elsewhere to ask what they could do with $1000. The DC-area organization it could improve literacy rate for a class of student. The Haiti organization said it could sustain ten families by using community agriculture. The Tanzania organization could send twenty-five women through secondary school.
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These stories ignite Carrie’s passion. She decided that she would turn the $100 into $1000 for each of the organizations. How could she turn $100 to $6000? She decided to do something she had never done before. She wrote an individual email requests to family and friends—ultimately to every name that came up from her contacts list as she typed alphabetically in the “To” field. She decided to write to names that popped up that she didn’t recognize.
As she came to the “Subject” field, she wondered what to write. When she could come up with nothing better, she wrote, “The Global Good Fund.”
It was not long before money started coming in: $20, $50, $1000. “It was extraordinarily generous,” says Carrie, “Particularly from my peers who were just starting in the workplace. It really resonated with them.” Within two weeks, Carrie had received $6,052. She felt good. She had started small but she had accomplished her goal.
As the donations were coming in, she had also received an e-mail from someone she had met for five minute at a conference a year earlier. They had exchanged greeting cards that day and Carrie had sent him a “nice to meet you” e-mail afterward. That was why his name had been in her contacts. The return e-mail from the man who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “I will like to donate a million dollars to the Global Good Fund. Where should I send the check?”
Carrie’s reaction: “This guy’s pranking me, I am not giving him my home address!” she e-mailed him back saying that if he was serious, he was to meet her on a particular day at a specific time in a specific place (a very public one with security cameras). And she would wait only ten minutes.
When he arrived, he handed a bank-certified cheque for $1 million, made out to “The Global Good Fund,” an organization that did not exist. And his questions for Currie was the same one she has asked the six organizations: What will you do with the money?
Currie had not prepared for the question because, honestly, she did not think the guy would show up. She could not fathom someone she had met for five minutes doing that. She quickly thought about what had made a difference in her life, and she told him she would invest in young leaders around the world who were using entrepreneurship for social impact.
Confused and perplex, Currie went back to her office and ask to see her boss, Knox. His assistance, Carol, could see that Carrie was sweating and hyperventilating, so she escorted her right in. “Look what you have done,” she said, slamming the cheque down on his desk, “You gave me the launch money, and this stranger gave me a million dollars for an organization that does not exist!” I have no idea what to do with the money. Would you please help me?”
“I will help you under two conditions,” said Knox, “First, while you may report to me at work, I will report to you at the Global Good Fund. Second, I am going to match the initial gift.”
That was in 2011. A year after, she stopped working for Inova and became the CEO of Global Good Fund, which she created as a nonprofit organization.
Culled from “The power of significance” by John C Maxwell
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- Attempt your dream no matter the odd, for it is better to try and fail than not to try at all.
- Be willing to add value to humanity, there may be a bigger purpose awaiting you.