Do you have a story of giving and connection? Please share it by posting a comment on this page.

While not meant as a rulebook, these are guidelines I follow when giving away $100:

  • The recipient is a stranger, and someone I am not likely to see again
  • I must have a conversation with the recipient (ie can’t just leave a big tip)
  • I can’t venture away from my routine in search of a recipient
  • The gift is not in response to a request (in person, writing, etc)

Have fun! I look forward to reading your stories.


11 Responses to Your Stories

  1. Liz Beal says:

    While attending the Northwest Portland Ministries annual luncheon in January, I was selected as one of the two lucky ticket holders to carry on this $100 giveaway challenge. And quite a challenge it was! Selecting the lucky recipient of the $100 was difficult. I spent the last few weeks look for just the right person to receive this gift.

    I was sitting on a bench in Pioneer Square, certain that there was no way “the recipient” would be in a shopping mall. While waiting on my friends to finish up in the store, a young women came up and asked me the time. She was a janitor in the mall and had a kind, yet sad, look in her eyes. I told her the time and she walked away. Suddenly, I knew that she was the recipient I had been waiting to meet! I chased after her and explained the story while handing over the $100. I became nervous in the process, as it is not in my daily routine to give away this kind of gift. At first the women was in disbelief and refused to accept the money. Eventually, she took the money with a grateful look in her eyes. As she departed up the escalator, she continued to stare at me in disbelief.

    During this challenge I noticed a difference in how I lived my daily routine. I took more notice to those around me. Not only was this a gift to the young women who works in Pioneer Place, but this was also a gift to me—to experience the gift of giving! Thank you for including me in this experience, Jill!

    • One crucial element to us, as neighbors living together in our changing society, is being aware of others around you. Any opportunity to share or help another person can be a moment, bordering on a paradigm shift in one’s thinking. Taking time to acknowledge another individual can sprout the humanity that we need to build community.

      I’m glad that you were able to create some joy in the life of one person. Thank you Jill and Liz for sharing your stories.

  2. Jill Ginsberg says:

    Liz- I love this! I love your story, how you thought about it so much, and how it changed the way you looked at things. Like you, I sometimes know in a flash that I have found the recipient, even after “looking” for a long time. Please stay in touch! Jill

  3. Cara says:

    I like your motivation to actually talk to a person but being shy I tend towards the leaving a big tip. Eventually you get around to talking to the people you are tipping on their off time (it’s hard to have a conversation while they are working) and every waiter I have met really appreciates a big tip!

    • Jill Ginsberg says:

      My New Year’s Resolution was to be a better tipper and I have made some good progress. So, I salute you!! One of the rules I made for myself in this process was that I had to have a conversation around the gift; this was really hard at first. Even though I am not particularly shy, it felt incredibly awkward at the beginning. Still does at times. Thank you so much for writing!! Jill

  4. Freddy says:

    I was impressed by the story in today’s Oregonian so much that i posted it on the yahoo! worldwide group i manage. Just like your mother I survived the Holocaust as a teenager , I survived in the underground in Belgium , after I had been whisked away from my native Germany.

  5. David says:

    I love what you are doing to change the world. Why don’t we do it together? Check out the new community of other people like you doing small things with great love to make a vital difference at You definitely have the heart of a Ragpicker!

  6. Ingrid says:

    Jill, you gave $100 to my daughter Naomi and it so affected her I was moved to start doing the same thing. I gave away my first $100 this week and plan to do one every month. I also started a blog
    It is amazing to me how much has already come out of this. I want to start a ground swell of people, women especially, who are willing to shift the attitudes and beliefs about money.
    I would love to connect with you in person. My friend Lori Jo Orr says she works with your partner. Small world. Ingrid

  7. Some things are “worth” so much more that one hundred dollars!

    Since becoming aware of your blog it’s as if I have permission or at least awareness of the need to connect with people I don’t know.

    When I go about my day working or running errands I see so many people looking so serious or sad or maybe just trying not to connect. Possibly people do that because of a fear of rejection
    many of us learned years ago maybe in Junior High school..

    Reading your blog has caused me to change my behavior. Now when out and about I make a conscious effort to connect with others. I actually look at people, smile and make eye contact. This may sound minor,but I see most people don’t do this. We are all “so busy”.

    I have had such positive response to this small gesture that I am gaining so much more than I give, so much more than one hundred dollars. It’s energizing to feel a positive connection with total strangers I may never meet again.

    This small act has made me much more empathetic. That is the real gift you have given me.

    I sincerely thank you! And your mother!


  8. Jill Ginsberg says:

    I received a lovely message from Timothy (When It Rains, It Pours – March 27). He gave me permission to include it here. Enjoy! Jill

    Well the first order of business is a wholehearted thanks and praise for the improvements to our world that go rippling out from these small actions. Id like to share a little of how this works for me. I have the fortune to be endowed with a unique combination of musical aptitude, education and experience which adds up to a cultivated ability to affect peoples thoughts and moods with the music that ive collected and written. Ive always been pretty generous with the skills ive been given, but economic necessity requires me to work for gratuity in order to survive in an urban environment. It was in this capacity that I recently encountered a kind woman who bestowed upon my work a hundred dollar windfall.

    Well, expenses being what they are, its easy for a hundred dollars to get dwarfed by the sums neccessary to make good things viable for long term. So the day it landed in my hand, it immediately bought a set of new strings, but I quikly replaced it with a symbolic bill that has been sitting in wait for an equally symbolic use. Ive finally invested in a replacement for my wrecked case. I feel it fitting that this bit of support should be supplying the vessel which both protects my livelihood, and collects future revenue. In honor of the gift, ive opened an additional Scholarship Spot on my teaching schedule, for which there is already a benificiary. Anihow, I thought it would be nice to share a little of the ripple effect this stuff can have with just a little push. Many thanks….TimothY

  9. Makaila says:

    I wanna say in my sophomore year of high school (so that was like 3 years ago) we learned about you. We read an article about a woman who gave $100 just for taking the time out of your day to acknowledge her and have a conversation with her and it always interested me. I’ve never been the type of person to ignore someone if they were trying to talk to me but anyways;; I think it was about a year later when I had just got off the max and was on my way to Starbucks when an older woman stopped me and started a simple conversation with me. I thought nothing of it and you started to explain who you were and what you do and immediately I noticed who you were. I’ve often told this story to many people. It’s important for all of us to not be so quick to be rude to people. You never know who someone is or how they are feeling.

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