These days, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. This year will again be especially difficult. So, if you know someone who was laid-off or furloughed, or whose work hours were cut due to the downturn, wouldn’t you love to see them receive a crisp, new $100 bill, along with some encouragement? Well, you can!
The Believe Project is a nonprofit that bestows $100 bills—along with inspirational messages—on nominated recipients every day of the year. The goal: bring hope and a bit of help to good people experiencing hard times, while inspiring others to make a difference.
The Believe Project is the brainchild of Carolyn Gable, a once struggling single mom and waitress who went on to build a multimillion-dollar business. Six years ago, she kicked off the Believe Project in the Chicago area as a giving campaign. The response was overwhelming.
Neighbors nominated neighbors. Friends nominated friends. Kind-hearted strangers nominated others who were struggling. While the recipients benefited financially, both parties benefited spiritually and emotionally from the experience.
Seeing what a difference it made, Gable took The Believe Project national and turned it into a daily, year-round program. To date, she has touched nearly 1,500 recipients, including many dealing with recent unemployment.
Those $100 bills have been used to pay heating bills, buy groceries, fill gas tanks, purchase birthday and holiday gifts, and more. They’ve helped seniors, veterans, the disabled, and the downtrodden.
How do you nominate someone? Simply visit www.believeproject.net and complete a form, telling that person’s story in 100 words or less. If their story is chosen, you’ll be mailed a small “Believe” envelope—stuffed with a $100 bill and inspirational message cards. When you present the gift to your chosen person, you become, in Gable’s terms, a “Steward of Love.”
The program creates a circle of giving and gratitude that far out values $100, encompassing those who nominate others…thankful recipients…and donors who contribute to the fund.
Gable created the Believe Project—an offshoot of the Carolyn J. Gable Foundation—as a result of her own life experiences. Although her family had little, even as a child she was compelled to help out her homebound neighbor. Throughout her waitressing days, she kept working hard, trusting her faith to deliver a miracle. And it did.
After landing a job at a trucking company, she worked her way up, eventually forming her own business, New Age Transportation, which she grew into a multimillion-dollar operation. Her secret strategy: treat people kindly and provide stellar service.
Along the way, the single mother of seven children formed The Expect-A-Miracle Foundation, a 501c3 not-for profit that helps single, working parents fund extracurricular activities for their kids.
She also wrote and published an autobiography, Everything I Know as a CEO I Learned as a Waitress, explaining her philosophy of giving.
“People like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett inspire me,” says Gable, who sold her business two years ago. “They understand that in giving, it comes back to you and then some.”
“I’ve always been drawn to helping the working poor,” says Gable, “$100 isn’t going to change someone’s life—but it tells them someone cares, and it may inspire them to keep going.”
“Caring has a ripple effect--it’s contagious. Once you feel it, you want to keep giving kindness and inspiration.”