CHICAGO — Teenagers often get a bad rap for having a selfish outlook, but in a time of need one local foundation is helping them help others one $1,000 check at a time.
Liz Lefkofsky founded the “VING Project” to create a new generation of givers. Through an online application, teens nominate one person they would like to surprise with a check for $1,000.
“It gives you hope, cause they’re the next generation and there is such goodness,” Lefkofsky said.
It’s about giving — that’s where the “VING” name comes from. It sounds too good to be true, but hundreds of teens have already taken part.
“I was able to bless my friend with a thousand dollars which was really heartwarming because it never hurts to pay it forward every once in a while,” Joshua Butler said.
Nominators submit a video to the VING Project’s website, and if they’re selected the check is mailed directly to the nominator so they can gift it in person. Teens all over the country gave a total of $250,000 last month alone.
“Those kids ten, fifteen years from now, they will remember that they got to do something powerful and impactful in a crazy difficult time,” Lefkofsky said.
This sprinkling of kindness is reaching coaches, co-workers, out-of-work neighbors and even friends now dealing with loss.
Morgan Rank nominated the Farmer family, who have been her childhood friends for 11 years.
“Their dad recently passed away two weeks ago from a freak heart attack and the family could use all the love and support they can get at this time,” Rank said in her video.
After she was selected, Rank got the honor of delivering the good news on their front doorstep, bringing the family to tears: “this thousand dollar check is for you.”
Recipient Kathi Jo Farmer said the experience left her “speechless.”
“We live in this world where there is a pandemic going on and that type of kindness shows that there are people out there who do things for more than just themselves and an act of kindness goes beyond words,” Farmer said.
This month the VING Project plans to double those donations in hopes of showing more young people the beauty in looking outward.
Anyone between the ages of 14 to 18 can nominate someone they’d like to help at VINGproject.org. There are no strings attached, no cut-off dates and at this point no cap on the amount of money they’re willing to give.