One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interest. John Stuart Mill
This morning I read a story in The San-Jose Mercury News, my hometown newspaper, titled Woman Grows Oprah’s Gift 30-fold. In the article, reporter Truong Phuoc Khanh tells of 46-year-old Michelle Hall, one of 300+ Oprah audience members who were each gifted a $1,000 debit card, courtesy of Bank of America; their mandate was to give away $1,000 within a week.
Michelle did indeed give the money away. But the total donated wasn't $1,000, it was $30,000.
When she returned home to San Jose, she called her friends, who called their friends, who called their friends, who then approached Ikea, Orchard Supply Hardware, Beverly’s Fabric and Crafts, Mancini’s Sleepworld, and Westfield Valley Fair.
This past weekend, having already raised $15,000, Ms. Hall attended a charitable fundraiser in San Francisco. When the host Don Bleu told the crowd of her initiative, the guests dug into their pockets and contributed $14,000.
Total funds raised and, in turn, contributed to charitable causes during one week?
I do not know Ms. Hall, nor have I spoken with her, but I think her story illustrates quite nicely the mechanics of the Intellectual Immigration Fund, as well as the importance of systergy.
Intellectual Immigration Fund, n. Women borrow and repay loans of intellectual capital in the form of mentoring, allowing them to emigrate from one level of knowledge to another.
Systergy, n. An organization of women, who by daring and dreaming together, will make synergistic contributions to their own lives and the world.
Let’s suppose that Ms. Hall had dreamed of contributing to her community in a more meaningful way. She was already involved in one charitable organization, but she wanted to do more. So she went to the Intellectual Immigration Fund and said, “I want to make a more meaningful contribution to the community. Can you brainstorm with me on how to do this? And help me find a mentor who can teach me about charitable giving?”
Ms. Hall’s case is unique in that she had $1,000 of seed money -- and the Oprah brand that she could leverage. What isn’t, and doesn’t have to be unique, is that she was so committed to growing this $1,000 exponentially within a very specific timeframe, she was willing to draw upon the support and encouragement of others (a sisterhood – with kudos to Don Bleu), which helped her increase that original grant thirty-fold.
Having now drawn on intellectual capital, and with systergy to power her efforts, Michelle is now in a position to contribute to the community in a far more meaningful way than she has in the past. She can also become a resource for other women who want to contribute to the community through fundraising, thus recycling the intellectual capital back into the Intellectual Immigration Fund.
Many small people in many small places doing many small things can alter the face of the earth. Anonymous
Michelle Hall – you’ve altered the face of my hometown.