Tabitha's Giving Story
I Like Moving Guys
On the way home from the Generous Giving Celebration in CO Springs (April 2018) we met a man sitting in the seat next to us on our flight. We learned that he was a single, divorced man who was reading a book about how to have a Godly relationship. After striking up a conversation and telling him about our own relationship, we also told him about the conference. He was en route to train as a TSA agent, and very nervous and lonely. His interest was piqued about giving and he admitted that was not one of his strong suits. We gave him the $20 given to us at the conference to “prime the pump” of his giving. He was amazed we would just give him $20, but we assured him it was meant to “Pay It Forward.”
Here is what he did with it:
Hey guys..I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to share with you that I recently moved into another apartment in Chicago, and the movers I hired worked really hard and provided great service. I felt God tell me to bless them by buying them lunch, and so I did with the $20 you gave me. I told them about you guys also. They were very appreciative. TSA is going great! Hope you guys are doing well!
Thanks for giving us the twenty…it was a fun exercise!
Peggy's Giving Story
I Like Not Chickening Out
I just attended the Generosity Caper breakout at the Generous Giving conference in Colorado Springs.
I was so excited to give my $20 away! I decided to give mine to the lady who checked our rental car back in at the CS airport on the day we returned home. I was so nervous! I actually was walking away from her booth with it in my hand, chickening out. But I turned around and went back. I just told her I was supposed to give this to her. She said “Why?!” I was so tongue tied and nervous I simply said “just because” . She was beaming and said I made her day. I practically had to run away before I started crying happy tears right there! Next time I hope I can slow down a little and share a little reason why. But, I’m a newbie and I just know God covered it in His grace!
Thank you for this opportunity to take a scary first step on my Journey of Generosity!
Natalie's Giving Story
I Like Making Rent
Good morning Heather,
My name is Natalie. My husband and I went to the Women To Watch and want to share how I gave my $20 away.
I saw Julianna in down town Bellevue holding a sign. She was hoping for a little help to make rent because her hours were cut and she won’t be able to make it up in time. I stood and chatted with her for a while and then I remembered that the company I work for is hiring. I grabbed her number and I will talk with my boss tomorrow. Hopefully it will lead to her getting a great full-time job, but either way both of our days are brightened.
Thank you so much for the challenge and opportunity. It was so much fun! You inspired me and I have decided to keep a $20 in my wallet for similar chances in the future.
My heart is truly filled with joy!
With love and appreciation ~ Natalie
Jenni's Giving Story
I Like Mommas at Bus Stops
I gave my $20 today and it was AWESOME. I asked God to show me who he wanted me to give it to and I felt like today was going to be the day. I picked my son up from preschool and on the way home, had one errand to do – it required me to go past my house about a mile and back.
As I was driving, I passed a lady holding a small child at the bus stop. A man was standing next to her on his phone. I felt like she was who I was supposed to give my $20. I almost stopped right then but told myself that if she was still at the bus stop when I came back by, then I would know I was supposed to give it to her. Just in case, I tried to find the $20 (from the event) I had stored on the dash of my car but it wasn’t there. So I went to my wallet to see if there was any cash to give if she was there on the way back, and I found a $20! I was set. Then at the next stop sign, I looked down and there was the $20 from Heather right where I’d just been looking. So I felt like I was supposed to give both my $20 and yours to match it.
So as I’m on the way back home, I passed the bus stop again and saw the man walking away with a car seat in his hand. I felt disappointed that I’d missed the opportunity and they’d already left on the bus. But then a few blocks down the road, there she was (!), walking, carrying her daughter! I was so excited- this WAS who I was supposed to give it to. I pulled over on the next street and when she came by, I walked up and told her “I feel like God told me to give you this money” and she started sobbing. I asked if she was okay and safe, and she said she would be but was having “baby daddy issues”.
The guy she had just left was the father of the 18 month old in her arms as well as the baby she is expecting. He had only seen his daughter twice in her life and she came down to let him visit and he told her he would help her get back home to Bothell, but ultimately didn’t. She was going to walk all the way to the Bellevue Bus Station (over 4 miles) to try to get home. She had abandoned the car seat with him since she couldn’t carry it and her 18 month old both that far. It was a windy/rainy day and she was wearing a flannel with no jacket, carrying a half-eaten yogurt, her daughters pink teddy bear, and diaper bag.
We offered her a ride and strapped her little girl into my extra car seat, drove to downtown Bellevue and dropped them at the Bus Station. She shared a bit about her life (temporarily staying with her brother, pregnant with no job, not sure how to get work when she is pregnant but looking to clean houses or provide childcare). She also shared that she thinks an angel saved her life in a car accident in December when she hit black ice and crashed into a concrete divider, but came away with only a head bump, and was able to get her daughter out safely before the car burst into flames and was totally burned within five minutes.
Even as she shared more about her current circumstances, she seemed to have peace and calm and hope (“Everything happens for a reason” she said). Indeed. Heather speaking on the topic of generosity, being generous by inviting and gifting me a ticket to the Women to Watch event, giving $20 to everyone there to spend as they wish in a generous way….all the things that lead up to me being able to help her in a tough spot. None of these things happened by chance. God is looking out for this girl and her children and it was an honor (and so energizing!) to be a part of His great plan to show her His love.
Having the $20 with an assignment to give it generously made me “on the look out” for where I was supposed to use it. Without that, it’s very likely I would have just driven to/from my errand right by the girl who so desperately needed help.
To all who contributed to this web of generosity, THANK YOU for following the call on your heart to spread the contagious joy of giving. We won’t ever know all the ways God uses it, but it is certainly fun to have been able to share this one!
Erin's Giving Story
I Like Canine Companions
On the night of the event, I received a gift bag, then once in my car I realized I’d left my phone in the center. I rushed back, found it, and on the way out was automatically handed another bag. I didn’t think anything of it until I emptied them later and realized I had $40 instead of $20!
It took a while for me to decide how to give the money away. I’ve suffered from depression, addiction and I’m bipolar. Whenever I see a homeless person, I think “there but for the grace of God, go I.” I also clung desperately to my dog in my darkest days – when I couldn’t face the world, I still left the house because I needed to take care of him. I see homeless people on the streets with animals and I know how important it is for them to stay together. I researched and there are very few shelters that let you take pets – and even then they have to be certified as service dogs, a high barrier for the homeless who are unlikely to have the resources to arrange this. It requires authorization from a mental health professional and even my psychiatrist won’t sign off on my dog as her insurance considers it risky – in case he bites someone/scares a child etc.
I finally tracked down this non-profit – Becks Place. They run a foster service so that the homeless can enter addiction treatment or transitional housing and know that their companion will be well taken care of, and more importantly, returned to them when they are able to care for the animal again. When a homeless person can’t or won’t leave the streets, they provide food, dog coats, warm socks for the human and blankets so they can both stay warm. This is who I chose to give the money to.
Cara's Giving Story
I Like Foster Parents
I felt a great responsibility to spend the $20 wisely. It was really hard to choose who I gave it to, but here is what I did. I gave it to a woman and man I know that takes in many foster kids. I have given her old electronics in the past to help with entertaining the foster kids as well as movies to play on it. I feel it takes a special person to be a foster parent. Those kids need love, special attention and motivation to be more than they thought they could be.
I could not do what she does, so I gave her the $20 to spend as she saw fit.
I also asked her if she would report back to me about how she felt about receiving the $20 and what she did with it. She later told me she felt reinforced that what she was doing was right and that someone thought she was doing a great job. She said sometimes it’s hard as you don’t know if you are really making a difference and my recognition of what she does made her feel invigorated again. She chose to start a college fund for one of the kids. “It is a start” she said.
How wonderful to be able to make this person feel like she has a good purpose! Thank you so much for allowing me to do this. I feel inspired to perhaps carry this forward once a year, contributing my own $20 and decide who should receive it.
Lynnette's Giving Story
I Like Socks
I gave my $20 (+$10) to Box of Socks, an initiative I was recently part of with my company Slalom. Here is my write up I sent to my Seattle office. We exceeded our $5,000 goal.
What is it?
Box of Socks is quite literally that—an easily accessible box of clean, dry socks free to those in need. Something that is critical to health and survival of those experiencing homelessness in our community.
Why are we doing it?
As part of the homelessness initiative, Slalom Seattle is focused on how we can make an impact for people who are experiencing homelessness in our community.
Why should you care?
Homelessness is a complex issue facing our community. Let’s be part of the movement to keep our neighbors warm and healthy – starting with their feet.
For $10 you can help buy 6 pairs of socks
For $20 you can help buy 12 pairs of socks
For $30 you can help buy 18 pairs of socks
Kris's Giving Story
I Like Buying Dinner
I gave my $20 when dining out a few weeks after receiving it. I had noticed an elderly gentleman when we were walking up to the door of the restaurant. He had parked in the handicapped stall, had a veterans sticker on his car, walked with a cane and needed help with the door to the restaurant. He was then seated at the booth next to ours. I overheard him telling the waitress that he likes going there because he typically has enough to take home and save another day from needing to cook.
I had the waitress bring me his bill and used the $20 to pay for his meal, tax and tip. I asked the waitress to leave the act anonymous with him.
I couldn’t quite overhear their conversation, but I did hear him ask who and see her shake her head. As he was getting up to leave, he leaned over to us and in a low voice only my friend could hear said, “I know it was you two.”
It was a really good feeling and since then I am on the lookout in places to pay things forward. For example, at the grocery store months later, there was an obviously financially struggling Hispanic family behind me in line. I handed the cashier a $20 and told her to put it towards their bill. I didn’t stick around for that conversation, but it was a really great feeling when I got to my car.
Thank you for opening me up to the experience(s)!
Amy's Giving Story
I Like Krispy Kreme
Ok, so yesterday was such a crazy day for me but it started off with the best blessing ever. I have bought Krispy Kreme for the family for “special” occasions over the years (not the healthiest treat, but…). I will buy them often on holidays, as the kids love them, but also the morning of a big game or event. We have gotten to know one of the employees over the years — her name is Maria. She is a hard worker, always friendly and so kind. She always takes time to make a personal connection and asks about the family even when the store is crazy busy.
I know she has kids in college and some still at home and that she works all of the time to provide for her family. So… I had the $20 with me yesterday when I went in to KK to buy the dozen doughnuts for my family for Thanksgiving morning. She served me with a smile, as she always has, and then I gave her the $20 and told her that I felt called to bless her with it. She was completely surprised and immediately grateful and joyful. I cried and so did she. I am sure the other employees and customers probably asked her why there was a cryfest/hugfest at the cash register, but it was awesome.
THANK YOU!! Thank you for being such a light and showing God’s love in such a sweet, wonderful and meaningful way. I am going to start doing this on my own – thank you for the prompt!
Linda's Giving Story
I Like Vets
My husband gave his $20 to a single mom who was having a hard time making the rent. Nice.
My $20 went to our Vet Tech who stopped by to give our cat his meds. While we pay her for that service, she came when she was feeling ill, AND she had stayed home from work – yet traveled an hour to get to our house (and, of course, an hour back). It was a joy to thank her for that gift to us.
I will keep an extra $20 in my car for the next giving opportunity. Thank you for your inspiration.
Rebecca's Giving Story
I Like Syrians
I’ve been holding onto the $20 for a few weeks now, thinking about how to best to use it. After the chemical warfare waged on civilians again in Syria this week, I knew that was where I wanted to donate it. I gave the $20 (plus a little more) to Preemptive Love Coalition which first came to my attention through a recommendation from my pastor a few years back with their work in Iraq. This group does practical, life-saving work helping children and families in Syria and other in dangerous areas of Iraq and Libya where the angels (and most other charities) fear to tread.
Thank you for sharing the joy of giving!
Steve's Giving Story
I Like Don't Give Up
Thank you for providing me with a wonderful new experience. Two people were set up in front of the local QFC, representing Don’t Give Up Outreach—they reach out to the Homeless, Lost & Broken Families. They were very excited about the $20 gift and it certainly made my day!
Alysse's Giving Story
I Like Carrying Cash (now)
As a general rule, I’m terrible about carrying cash. Even when I have some in my wallet, it seems my son always has a need for it as well. Sound familiar? I was so inspired by your talk last week at the 425 magazine Women to Watch series. I tucked the $20 and the card from the swag bag into a secret spot in my purse to wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. Yesterday it did.
I was in downtown Seattle at the Recovery Café. I’m the Secretary of the Board and needed to stop by to help them with some marketing strategy before their doors open for the day for their members. I was parked across the street from the Recovery Café in their small city parking lot. Upon leaving the café, there were already several people waiting outside to get in for their daily meals, group therapy meetings, etc. I said hello, looking each one in the eye, and wished them each great day. I got in my car and did whatever I normally do, check my phone for text messages or important emails before I start driving. As I was waiting to pull out of the parking lot, a homeless man had gotten into the street and was literally down on his knees begging the vehicle in front of him for money, hands and eyes pleading. The woman in the car looked horrified. Quickly assessing the situation, I started honking my horn and motioning for him to come over to my car.
He looked a bit confused at first, but slowly got up and came over to the drivers side of my car. The other woman quickly drove away. I rolled down my window and offered the $20 saying that it was all I had at the moment, but I hoped it would help. As he started to take the $20 bill a single tear rolled down his very dirty and weathered face. I noticed he was missing most of his teeth. He said to me “You have a beautiful soul. I can tell by your eyes. Thank you.”
Thank you for giving me this opportunity Heather. I’ve decided I’m going to always carry a special $100 bill in my wallet for cases just like these. Homelessness, mental illness, and addiction is a real issue in our city. Many of these people have lost the freedom of choice and it’s a complex issue. Each day, as I watch more and more tents go up around downtown and the garbage continue to grow, I can’t figure out how help to fix it. It’s overwhelming in the same way thinking about the universe overwhelms my brain. But, I can do little things as opportunities continue to present themselves to me.
Thank you for sharing your generosity and your passion. I left the Kirkland Performing Arts Center last week after the event feeling both changed and inspired.
Mike's Giving Story
I Like When Women are Safe
I recently attended the Women to Watch 2017 event in Kirkland. You gave out $20 bills in our bags. My wife got $20 but mine had $40 in it. I thought it was a special sign and I’ve been holding onto it for quite a while looking for the right opportunity. Last week I got my haircut and forgot my wallet. I had to use one of the bills. As payback I added another $20 to the donation and then I found the right place to put it.
I donated two Revolar security buttons for domestic violence survivors through this website.
Thanks for your great idea of trusting us with this money. It’s been paid forward…
Kristin's Giving Story
I Like Lessons for the Soul
I gave my $20 away on Sunday. There is a homeless man with a small dog who has been in the Kirkland/Houghton area for quite some time, and we have given to him before, but it had been a while since we’d seen him. We knew he had health problems, and I was wondering if something serious had happened to him.
Anyway, out of the blue, he was back in Kirkland, but in a different spot, and my daughter was with me when I saw him. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but she sees my husband and I give quite regularly through the church and to other causes, but this was one of the times she sat up and took notice when it was to a homeless person. She was younger and maybe not as aware when we had done this previously. She was able to witness the act of kindness and we had a great talk about it, and money in general, and how it all belongs to God.
Even though we are serious Dave Ramsey fans and teach our kids about money, nothing works better than seeing it in action. The lesson goes to the soul and I believe this was a large deposit in my daughter’s soul that day. She is eight years old.
Anyway, as soon as I got the $20 from you that night, he came to mind, and I wondered if I’d ever see him again. And there he was, a few days later, completely out of the blue!
Thank you for your fantastic message about generosity and how the experiences not only impact us directly, but make a difference in our future generations.
Kate's Giving Story
I Like Better Futures
I am friends with Emily and she invited me to attend the Women to Watch event with her. I was totally inspired by you and your speech! It’s taken me a long time to give my $20, but when I woke up this morning, I knew what I was going to do with it first thing.
I grew up in Bellevue with Jana. Our lives went in very different directions and she’s been through some incredibly terrible things in her life. She and her daughter are using their past to create a better future for others. I used your $20 and added my own, to contribute to their GoFundMe campaign.
Thanks so much for sharing the joy of giving!
Terri's Giving Story
I Like Snacks for Hungry Kids
My husband is a science teacher at a middle school with a large immigrant population. Most of their families qualify for free and reduced lunch program, however, they tend not to sign up for it. The ‘party line’ is that the families are too proud to sign up for it….
Regardless, by the time many of the kids get to my husband’s 5th or 6th period class they are SO hungry.
I took your $20 and bought snacks for the kids and loaded them in a box that he can keep in his class. We end up feeding a lot of these kids over the course of the school year anyway, so this will keep it up!!
Heidi's Giving Story
I Like Hardworking Moms
Your talk on generosity was exactly what I needed. I’m the one who drives by the homeless and can’t look out the window because I feel bad, and who sees those who have harder lives and feel bad; and the list goes on. Although I never have done anything about it regularly, just feel bad. (We do sponsor kids though, so that’s a start :). So when you put the $20 in the bag, I knew exactly where it was going.
A couple weeks prior to the event, we started having our home cleaned (a splurge for us), by three sweet Hispanic ladies, who speak English as their second language, and work hard for not a lot of money. I had just found out they all have children and none of the dads are involved. It broke my heart thinking about trying to provide for kids, and working, and doing it all alon,e and at the same time having the language barrier. So even though it wasn’t going to do a whole lot for them, I took out another $40 and put $20 in an envelope for each of them with a quick note saying I appreciated them. That was it. But it felt so good. So much better than a new shirt, or pair of shoes. I don’t really need anything, we also aren’t rich by our community standard, but we have PLENTY, and much more than a lot of people. I want to make this kind of thing more regular in my life and be tuned into the Holy Spirit and know when I should step up and step out and give more.
So THANK YOU for that. It also made me remember than ALL I have was given to me, just as that $20 you gave. It all came from our Father in heaven and we are here to steward it. Amen!
David's Giving Story
I Like Tire Guys
I had a nail in my tire. I went to one place and they could not fix it then, so I made an appointment, cost would be $20. I then drove across the street to TirePro and they fixed it for free even though I did not buy the tires there. I gave the guy your $20 and said to pass it along to the guy who did the work. Great to be able to give spontaneously to thank someone for their kindness to me.
Cydly's Giving Story
I Like Coffee
I had fun giving my $20 away this afternoon at The Bridge Cafe, located inside the North Seattle Alliance Church. The Bridge has a “program” to “float” a cup of coffee for someone who can’t afford to buy one. The NSA Church serves lower income folks in a variety of ways, and so it felt really good to know that my $20 will be part of that effort to pay it forward.
Tami's Giving Story
I Like Light in the Darkness
It was such a pleasure to hear your stories and have a chance to chat with you!
I prayed about where I was to give my $20 and I heard ‘Glassybaby’. I knew I was to give a Glassybaby to someone, but wasn’t sure who it was. I have given about six Glassybabies as gifts in the last few months.
My niece then texted me and I knew that I was to buy a Glassybaby for her friend (who I don’t personally know) who has CF and is constantly hospitalized. KyLee has 3 siblings, 2 of which had CF and have already passed away from the disease…one just recently. Her mom has battled breast cancer twice. Her sister who is still living is healthy, but just prematurely given birth to a baby at 19 weeks….1 in a million chance of survival due to the lungs not being developed. Her water broke while at the memorial service for her sister.
I asked for suggestions on color for KyLee. My niece suggested a teal color. I found ‘Gratitude’…perfect color and name.
I wanted to share this with you because the $20 will not only touch KyLee, but my niece was very moved that I would think of her friend. She said KyLee lives with her sister and doesn’t have anything to decorate her bedroom with.
I bought KyLee a battery operated votive and extra batteries because she is in the hospital quite often due to her disease…most often two weeks at a time.
Lee shared that sitting and looking at the light in her Glassybaby was calming and brought her peace. I think there is truth in that as light overcomes darkness. You probably have no idea how much you have been part of a bigger and greater plan and will most likely not know how many lives you have touched.
Heather, how wonderful it must be to help guide people with their giving! What you are teaching others is proven true in Proverbs 11:25 – “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Thank you so much for planting and watering seeds of generosity! I know you will, in turn, be graciously blessed!
Julie's Giving Story
I Like Missed Busses
Thank you so much for your generous gift at the Women To Watch Event. My daughter has a huge heart for helping homeless people, so when I told her about the gift and our job of giving it away, she quickly said – “let’s give it to a homeless person!”
So, we always have it in the car and amazingly in the last two weeks didn’t see a single homeless person! We live south of Seattle. On Saturday, we were leaving her girl scout cookie sale shift and there was a man in the median. He had a sign that said he wanted to work, his phone number was listed. He had a walker and it was starting to pour down rain. Something must have just happened to him because he was grumbling to himself. Trying to get his attention verbally wasn’t working, so I waved the $20. He came over and almost started crying.
Apparently he had just missed the bus to take him to church and then he realized why God made him miss the bus. So he could meet us. He said, you have no idea how much this helps. Have a wonderful day and a blessed life. And…I’m crying at this point. We’ve given a few bucks here and there to the homeless but when you make a more visible difference – wow – it feels amazing.
We’ve decided to make this part of our weekly routine. $20 gets given away to someone that it can really help.
Thank you for your beautiful gift of generosity!
Jennifer's Giving Story
I Like Triplets
I gave my $20 as part of a $100 donation to my friend who is having triplets! She lives in the San Francisco Bay area in a tiny apartment with her 2.5 year old daughter. My friend’s aunt started a go fund me page for them to buy a mini-van.
Patricia's Giving Story
I Like Tickets
I took your $20, added another $20, and donated a ticket to the sold out conversation with Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant this week about their book, Option B.
I donated the ticket to a woman who is living her Option B and was so interested in attending the event that she had bid on a silent auction for the ticket, but the price ran so high she opted out. She was delighted to attend, offered to reimburse me for the ticket and I asked her to pay it forward.
Here’s to continuing to spread support to others.
Jodi's Giving Story
I Like No Judgement
I still have my $20, so I wanted to let you know why. Every time I see someone I consider giving it to, I keep it, and dig in my wallet. I have no idea how much I’ve given away since March, when you first presented us with these cards, money and concept, but it’s way more than $20. Sometimes I give $3 or $5 or more; it depends on what kind of cash I have. I have only given coins once, because that was all I had.
I don’t judge. I give to old men on the freeway ramp, strung out women on Aurora, ladies with kids and pitiful signs. Sometimes I pay for the person in front or behind me in line at the supermarket, regardless of what they look like. I’ve gone through my closets and taken things to shelters and encampments. I have a lot of stuff I don’t need.
I may never give that $20 away but then, maybe I will. Then I’ll replace it with another $20. It’s attached to your card with a paperclip so I know it’s not part of my money.
I don’t have a lot of money myself but I truly believe that the amount of love you give is the amount of love you will receive and both money and love can often come from unexpected sources.
Thanks for the opportunity to think this way. Thanks for the wonderful speech you gave that inspired me several months ago.
Stephanie's Giving Story
I Like Hygiene Kits
I wanted to share that we finally gave our $20s!! Three of us have held onto our bills since the Women to Watch event and this felt like a great use for them.
My cousin runs Seattle Homeless Outreach (formerly Heroes for the Homeless) and we hosted a volunteer party at our office today to assemble feminine hygiene kits. We used our $20s to buy the supplies for the kits.
Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got to work, and it felt great to do something as a team for a good cause.
Thanks for inspiring us!