Dreaming of a Million Dollars

turning over the money in the hands

This week I was asked what I would do if I had a million dollars. That’s a tough question. After paying off my house and taking my extended family on a memorable vacation, I’d try to make a difference.

There are so many charities and other organizations that are focused on encouraging and inspiring people. Since that’s what I’m passionate about, I would begin here:

  • Contribute to The Giving Lens, an organization supporting international non-profits and impacting children through photography: I’m hoping to join them on a trip later this year or in early 2015.
  • Create a program similar to The Giving Lens, but in my own community: As I travel, I’m very aware that the majority of young people will never have the same opportunity. I’d love to give students the chance to see the world in a new way through photography and trips to places where they have never been.
  • Support the Wounded Warrior Project and similar charities: There is not much I can do for members of our military and their families that would make up for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of me and my family. WWP is an organization I have contributed to in the past and plan to support in the future.

What I found interesting about this thought process was the recognition that I don’t have to wait for a cash windfall to contribute to incredible causes. It may not be a million dollars, but even a small amount of money or my time can make a difference.

Now, back at ‘cha! What would you do?

Dawn Miquel

I would retire, then organize a program to teach Denver area families and individuals how to grow their own vegetables in raised beds or right-of-ways. The families would be anywhere; suburbs, inner-city, apartments, assisted living.

jasteck

That would make such a difference for people, Dawn, to be able to grow their own food. I love it! Retirement is nice, too. 🙂

Bluestar68

Assuming that it’s a million after taxes, I would do the math and put a significant chunk into my retirement and investment accounts so that it will grow to an amount (at a modest rate of return) enough by the time i retire, to take care of myself so that my family would never be financially burdened by my healthcare needs. In the past year I have seen two friends each having to make very difficult and heartbreaking sub par nursing home/care choices for their parents. Their decisions were severely limited because of inadequate finances. After that, I would go on a dream vacation and contribute to the charities I am already contributing too. You are right that we don’t have to wait for a windfall to give to charity. I have always believed that every little bit counts so I was never embarrassed to give very small amounts even when I didn’t have all that much money.

jasteck

I can’t imagine how difficult it was for your friends, making tough choices when the options aren’t the best. That’s very sad. I love your idea of investing the money for the future. Instead of immediate returns, it would last so much longer and potentially make even a bigger difference.

Kate

I haven’t heard of the Giving Lens before but I do love the Wounded Warrior charity and am a big believer in giving back to them.

Dana

Excellent point – you don’t have to hit it big to contribute to worthy causes. I just have trouble choosing among so many organizations – I wish I could give to all of them. I’d really have to think about it before I made a large contribution somewhere.

jasteck

There are so many amazing groups out there, Kate. It would be hard to narrow it down. The Giving Lens recruits photographers of all skill levels to work with kids. Since I love photography, it’s a good fit for me.

jasteck

The ones I listed are a few that would top my list, Dana. There are too many more to list that I would consider. It would be a difficult choice. Thanks for stopping by!

jasteck

You’re a wonderful friend. I’m sure your girlfriends would really appreciate it. I can’t imagine working so many jobs. One is enough!!

Chris Carter

It is amazing how you immediately focus on GIVING of the money, instead of using it for selfish purpose. That alone is an incredibly beautiful reflection of your heart.

And I do love the conclusion you shared- such a valuable reminder to us all!!!

Love this. 🙂

jasteck

I’ve been blessed, Chris, and don’t currently face the same level of financial difficulty as some. There are so many ways to use the money, it would be a challenge getting it to just the right place.

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