Update 6: A Thousand Dollar Scholarship For A Doer

by irms

UPDATE 6: Another generous and anonymous donation! This is now the “Two-Thousand One-Hundred Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”.

UPDATE 5: Even though the deadline for applications has passed, people have not stopped being generous. Thanks to another anonymous donation, this is now the “Two-Thousand Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”. Now, that’s awesome!

UPDATE 4: “I just want to be a part of changing a life in a simple way.” — Anonymous. We are now the “One-Thousand EIGHT-Hundred Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”

UPDATE 3: We are now the “One-Thousand Seven-Hundred Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”, thanks to a strictly anonymous giver!

UPDATE 2: Stephanie Tinsley Schopp is throwing in another $100. It’s now the “One-Thousand Six-Hundred Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”. Thanks, Stephanie!

UPDATE: Since announcing this initiative, two different people have come forward and would like to add to the pot. Therefore, the “Thousand Dollar Scholarship For A Doer” is now the “Fifteen Hundred Dollar Scholarship For A Doer”.

Both conversations went a little something like this:

Steve Years DM

So, many thanks to Steve Years, Hashtag Member, creator of re.vu, 59DaysOfCode 2011 In-Progress winner and all-around good guy.

Also, many thanks to the person who said, “It’s not that I want to be noble and be anonymous, it’s just that I’m afraid my ex will claim I owe him/her money.”


(If anyone else would like to throw in, you can email me.)


There’s probably a great psychological reason that I keep writing about money and happiness. I don’t know what it is, but feel free to speculate in the comments. Meanwhile, let me tell you about this new thing I want to try:

I want to give away a thousand dollars, and I want to give it to someone who will do something awesome with that money.

You might think this is stupid, or that a thousand bucks hardly makes a difference to most people, but I defy you to say you would turn it down if I gave it to you. That’s what I thought.

Brass Tacks

Who will win?

Simple answer: The person who can demonstrate that this thousand bucks will make the difference between doing something amazing, and not doing it. Also, I prefer to see the money grow. e.g. A one-time donation to some great cause is neat, but let’s steer away from that for the moment. What can you do with a thousand bucks that will have a lasting impact?


How do you apply?

You fill out this form.


Rules & Notes:

  • I can’t and won’t try to control how you end up using the money. HOWEVER, I ask that you report back with what you’ve done with it. All I will do is ask you to be honest.
  • No preference will be given to your financial status.
  • Local (Fresno/Central Valley) projects are more likely to have a place in my heart, but that doesn’t guarantee squat.
  • Must be 18 or older to win.
  • It is very unlikely that I will give the money to someone who simply wishes to travel and/or pay off bills. Call me a crab, but those are common enough goals.
  • Likewise with donations. See previous point.
  • This is a one-time award.


  • Deadline to apply: Thursday, October 20th, 2011 @11:59pm PST
  • Finalists announced: Thursday, October 27th, 2011
  • Winner announced: My 31st Birthday, Thursday, November 3rd, 2011.
    (Sometime that day, as I’m having a bit of surgery in the morning.)


For the naturally curious.


Where did you get this money?

I worked for it. I don’t have a rich uncle.


How will you decide the winner?

I will probably share the applications with my family and close friends to gather opinions, but mostly I’m looking to see something entrepreneurial, or innovative. As I said above, your chances improve if your idea scales or the money grows or the idea will continue to affect people long after the money is gone. This is  not a contest to write the saddest story.


Why not give the money to a charity or cause?

I do that too! Here are just some of the organizations I’ve donated to in the last year. I encourage you to find one you like and pitch in!

WP Super Cache
The Susan G. Komen Foundation
St. Marks Methodist Church
Reel Pride Film Festival

Fresno Urban Sound Experience
Fresno Regional Foundation (Fighting Hunger Together)

Central California SPCA
Charity: Water

American Cancer Society

Why not give the money to a family member?

My family and I help each other out regularly. They can apply too.

Why the hell are you doing this?

  1. I want to give back and
  2. I think sometimes money stops people from doing neat things and
  3. Because I honestly believe that in the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have, and I have enough.