Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Giving 50x52: Bill Conley's year-long journey of giving.

One Omaha man took a desire to interact with the world around him and created a fascinating and inspiring journey of it. 

On his 50th birthday, Bill Conley made the decision to spend a year meeting and donating to organizations he may not be familiar with and documenting his journey in a blog he titled "Giving 50x52":

What: This blog will document a weekly gift of $50 over a one year period, beginning in September 2012. Giving50x52 is about stories…stories of interesting people and worthwhile organizations.   
Why: I’m not exactly sure why I am doing this, but I’ve thought about it for a few years. It’s been an idea that would pop in my head and I just couldn’t shake. So, on my 50th birthday, I just decided to start. Some of the reasons for doing this are:
  • To tell stories about interesting people, important causes and worthwhile organizations.
  • To push myself to meet people I might not normally talk to and to learn about organizations I might not know much about.
  • To heighten my consciousness and awareness of opportunities to connect with others, to help others and of the many great things being done in this community.
  • To motivate myself on giving, particularly “hands-on” giving.
  • To celebrate being 50 years old. 
... 
Other: This should be a fun journey and will certainly take me out of my comfort zone and provide some great opportunities to meet others. Obviously a gift of $50/week won’t change the world. The randomness of the gift might make someone’s day, lift their spirits…and likely mine at the same time.
These weekly gifts are not being made exclusively to people who need the money. There is no way for me to know their situation. I might just pick some people, or organizations, in the community that are doing great things as a “thank you”. What they do with the $50 is entirely their decision. I hope they can use it themselves for something they need or want. Perhaps they want to pay it forward to someone else or to a cause they care about.
The concept of “hands-on” giving is a key aspect of this journey, meaning I want to meet the person or learn more about the organization.
This week (week 35 on his path) he made the decision to commemorate "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" and Shakespeare's birthday by choosing Nebraska Shakespeare as his organization of the week.

Nebraska Shakespeare is very proud to be a part of a journey that has included a wealth of great stories.

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