Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 4: $30 Million to Change the World

So it is day 4 of A Week of Positive Blogging. This day's theme concerns the question of, "If I had 3 months to spend $30 Million to change the world what would I do?" I have to admit that I have thought about this question for about a year now. I once considered it when I played the lottory back in the states. I always saw myself being one of those guys who would win the lottery and then disappear. One day you see me on TV with a full beard dark shades, fake eyebrows, etc. the works. Then right after the press conference I would be on the next flight to some place where no one even knows what a lottery is.

Yet, for me having millions of dollars would be somewhat pointless. Once I have enough to eat with, have clothing, housing, and money to be able to pass on to any descendants, I may one day have, that would leave a large amount of money for me to do nothing with. Thus there have been a recent strinig of lottery winners who have either blown all of their winnings or they are very sad people. I believe this is because of trying to go out and help the less fortunate they are only thinking of short term needs which involves the accumulation of stuff. Yet, maybe if they were out helping people in desperate need they would find the joy that I think exists within all humans when we help people.

Two things in part inspired this Week of Positive Blogging, especially this particular day of blogging.

Pay It Forward - Assignment To Save The World

Brewster's Million's - None of The Above

So if I had $30 Million in which to change the world in 3 months this is what I would do. I call this one.............

Operation Pay It Forward

Strategy 1: Saving the youth

I would quite my job and make sure that all of my bills and such are paid for the next 3 months. Since I live in Israel I would start here. I would rent a motercyle and ride around the country trying to find people who are in dire need. I am not particarely talking about people with their hands out, but I also would have no problem with the regular charity there. What I would seek are people who are trying to stay afloat while trying to keep a certain level of morality. I would want to test their morality in some way, and also test their intentions. I would then work out some way to fix their particular misfortune and put them in a position where they never have to fall short again.

For example, here in Israel there is a problem with Ethiopian Jews whose children sometimes don't have the money to buy school supplies or lunches. I would try to find families in this situation who have children who are trying hard, but they just need these kind of obstacles taken out of the way in order for them to be able ot excell. So enter me, the unknown stranger who has volunteered to be a janitor at the school in order to find families in need. All of a sudden that janitor shows up at their door with several thousand dollors to cover the child all the way through college. My only requests would be:

1) Don't mention to anyone who gave them the money.
2) They must promise to use the money towards the future of the child.
3) They must in return help someone else in need.

Then I would dissapear never to be seen by that family again. I may secretly check up on them and if needed provide them with additional funding, but it is up to them to do what is right now that the road block to their child's success is taken away. I would repeat this process in Africa next, and then I would make my way to America. Race for me is not an issue and it is not important to me. What I am looking for is people who have hope, but are in a hopeless situation. Those who are on the edge of just making it and are praying for something that can get them over the edge. Since I am a beleiver that some situations can only be solved by working with the young, I would spend most of my effort there. I would spend about $7 Million doing this, while investing $ 3 Million in a continued effort.

Strategy 2: Saving those who are on the verge of death

My next goal would be to help people who are in a life or death situation. I would use some of the money to try to get people for example out of the Sudan. I am not sure how I would exactly do this, but I would than likely have to hire some mercenaries to go in and get families out. I would then have to pay people off to get them to a country where I can support them. In order to make this a continous process I would take about $ 10 Million and put into investments that have a good and steady return over a 5 year period. I would then try to use the interest to save seveal families per year. Where I would try to relocate them depends. I would not want to take them from a bad situatioin to a situation where they can't eventually do for themselves. That is why I would more than likely have to impress upon then the need to build community structures.

Strategy 3: Community building

I am a firm believer that many of the problems that some groups face in the world is from a lack of strong communinty structure. In this vien I would start working with synagogues first from the Yemenite Jewish communities to try and get them more stable in their communities and able to inspire the young Yemenite Jews not to abandon their religious heritage. This would include helping rabbis who have ideas on how to inspire the youth, but because of finances they have no way to implement programs. My requirement here would be that they in return have to work with children to educate them on their history and they would have to spend time talking with children about the past. My next step would be to spend about $5 Million getting like minded people to build communities. I would spend this money to try and convince them to move to the same areas with people who share similar ideals. This may require moving people from one part of their country or the world to another part. I would then hire people to work short time with interested people to teach them what it means to be a community.

I would also set aside a few million to be invested in this area to try and create some sort of media outlet that would create positive programming for matters of African, African American, and Jewish interest. I would try to create cartoons, documentaries, etc. about matters concerning Africans, African Americans, and Jews that are normally never covered. Because of the fact that VAST areas of history, fiction, and non-fiction that concerns these groups NEVER show up in the current media I would use some of the money, through investments, to create the mediums and to work on getting them into circulation. My first hope would be to hire film makers, for example, to go to Africa and do documentaries and such (history channel and discovery channel) of the history of ancient and modern African kingdoms and governments. I would do documentaries about areas of African American history that could be used year round and not just in February. I would also do films about the Jews of Yemen, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, and the Jews that once existed in Mali and Senegal.

As a part of this I would go to Mali and have the books there translated. There are hundreds of libraries in Mali that have over 700,000 books in Arabic on history and other topics about West Africa. These are histories that go back beyond the 15th Cent. yet very few people know of them. I have two book from one of the collections that deals with the Jews that once lived in Timbuktu and all over Mali and Senegal.

Strategy 4: Random acts of kindness

I would earmark about $ 5 Million for doing random acts of kindness. Things like $1,000 tip to a waitress or waiter at a resturant who rendered good service. Maybe something like going to hospitals and finding out if there is someone who can't pay for an operation and then paying for it, once again disappearing when people begin to ask who paid for this. Other thoughts that cross my mind would be to pay for college student's tuition while they are line to pay. I would even buy pets for nursing homes and children in hospitals.


It is doubtful that throwing money at a problem will be the solution. My goal would be to set a dramaitc example, so that when the legend of an unknown man going around pulling people back from the brink spreads it would in turn shake some people out of apathy. Just maybe someone hearing the story, would themselves be moved to do something, no matter how small to help someone. Maybe it would cause some of the rich to see it and consider taking more dramatic steps to help people. Maybe, it would spark a legend that people would try to themselves emulate. Just maybe, one person who was helped will be able to pull themselves up out of the mud and the mire and build a brighter future.

Yet, even without $30 Million I can do some of what I mentioned above. Sometimes the real life saver is the person who is willing to listen to a person's problems. Sometimes the real life saver is the person who is willing to put aside their own hopes in life in order to help others. Sometimes the real life saver is the person who comes through with that last $100 when someone is trying to pay their rent or stay in school. Sometimes the real life saver is the one who sees their fellow man or woman broken and beaten, and they simply extend their hand and say, "Hey, I am here for you. Take my hand."


ChrissyJo said...

Wow what great ideas! I would love to be able to the random acts of kindness you speak of. It never seems to be people with such good intentions that end up winning. Maybe I should start playing :) .

Lisa said...

I can tell you have thought about this for a while. . .impressive. I absolutely adore the batman clips. . .

Ehav Ever said...

Chrissyjo - Thanks. Yeah, the random acts of kindness are so fun when you see people's joy and surprise. I especially love it when I have done and then left in a hurry so that they don't have time to respond. I guess in terms of the lottery, maybe the right people do win it. I considered that when I believed that my ideals were better to win with. Yet, at the same time, maybe there is a greater glory when we change the world without the money. You should watch the movie Pay It Forward. It deals with that.

Lisa - Yes, I have thought about for a LONG time. Batman begins was one of my all time favorite movies. The music, the one liners, the quotable statements. I am considering flying back to America just to see Batman 2 the Dark Knight next year.