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Inspirational Tuesday: Year of Giving

April 20, 2010

Photo credit: Katherine Frey, The Washington Post

Shortly after 36-year-old businessman Reed Sandridge was laid off from his job at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., he remembered some of his late mother’s words of wisdom: W”hen you’re going through tough times, that’s when you most need to give back.”

So starting last December, on the third anniversary of her death, Sandridge started the Year of Giving project, giving away $10 a day to a different person for a year. He explores his community each day and finds an individual to be the recipient of his daily gift. Today was Day 127 of his project, so Sandridge has given away $1270 and met 127 people he never would have met otherwise. In addition, he uses his blog to tell the story of each person he meets.

While he acknowledges the $10 is a small contribution that won’t change someone’s life, Sandridge believes that the act of giving, getting to know people, and sharing these stories will hopefully inspire others toward generosity.

When asked about the most memorable recipients of $10, Sandridge finds it hard to just name a handful. Every single person has a unique and special story. For example, Day 103’s Matt from southern Virginia, took Sandridge’s $10, added $90 of his own and used the $100 to sponsor 10 kayakers taking part in a fund-raiser to save the James River.

In an attempt to make a larger impact, Sandridge is calling June 15 a Worldwide Day of Giving, where he’s asking everyone who has heard his story or been to his blog to do what he’s doing, for just one day: to give $10 to a stranger and then write about their experience on his site.

Though it would’ve been quicker and  more life-changing to simply write a $3650 check to one person, he thinks this project is a “much more personal experience, getting to know someone, getting to know what they’re doing with (the $10).”

“It’s more valuable to sit and listen to someone,” Sandridge says. “And the fact that I’m out of work right now has inspired so many people.”

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