CLOSE

The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy

If you were walking through the pouring rain and someone offered you an umbrella, would you accept it or assume it was some sort of weird scam? If you said you would take it and you live in a big city, then you're probably in the minority. That's what David Ibnale discovered when he tried to provide San Franciscans with free umbrellas in the middle of a downpour:

"People thought there was something fishy about it," Ibnale said. "There wasn't. It was just free umbrellas."

David received funds for his umbrella giveaway from the Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, a new Bay Area charity dedicated to getting people to do nice things for other people. The charity gives out $100 awards every year to people who propose to help strangers in a unique manner.

Other recipients of the cash awards this year tried to give money to others as long as they promised to give it to someone else, bought drinks for an entire bar, and sent candy to students studying in South America. The mother of the charity's founder broke her $100 into quarters and scattered the change around the playground of an elementary school.

What would you do if you could have $100 to brighten the world?

[Image courtesy of Flickr user anna_t.]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
The U.S. Postal Service Is Making Holiday Dreams Come True, One Letter at a Time
iStock
iStock

Each Christmas season, the United States Postal Service (USPS) receives millions of letters from kids writing to Santa Claus. To help make children's holidays brighter, the postal service runs “Operation Santa,” a program that allows members of the public to play St. Nick and pen responses.

The USPS first began receiving Santa letters more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave local postmasters the go-ahead to open and reply to these missives; by the 1940s, charities, corporations, and volunteers were also providing responses and sending gifts to kids.

Today, the Operation Santa program is headquartered in the James A. Farley Post Office Building (the main USPS building in New York City) and has select satellite locations across the U.S.—and a brand-new website and platform is helping do-gooders around the country spread holiday cheer by allowing them to “adopt” a letter online.

Visit Operation Santa’s website, and browse the virtual mailroom to select a letter. Choose one you love, and the USPS will email you a letter ID. Write a response or send a gift (or both!), and bring your package or letter to the nearest drop-off location. In place of an address in the upper left-hand corner, use the provided ID number (this protects people's identities), and be prepared to provide both a completed Adopter Form and a photo ID [PDF].

Not all post offices participate in Operation Santa, as some might not have the requisite facilities, staff, or location to join the program. To see if your neighborhood location is joining in the fun this year, visit Operation Santa’s website for a list of registered locations.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios