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Getting Philanthropy to Pay Off (Finally)

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If I help the elderly cross the street, I'll get a free burrito, right? Is that how this works?

By definition, being charitable and philanthropic means removing yourself from your self-absorbed cocoon of cheap beer and a DVR full of Jersey Shore reruns to think about someone else for a little bit. But let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment – even if you’re just looking for a pat on the back so you can feel better about last weekend’s hangover, no one commits a random act of selflessness without hoping for some kind of Pay It Forward scenario to come up in the future.

Three friends from the Mission however, took that idea, made it sound infinitely less like a self-help book and then ran with it to create Bolder, which I’ll describe as being kind of like Foursquare meets clipping coupons from the Sunday papers. (Because everything is the “new” something, obviously.) Except instead of getting free coffee because you hang out at Javatown all the time or a cartoon badge for doing the most karaoke in a week, you complete challenges to rack up actually useful stuff like free food, discounts on new clothes and driving credit with CityCarShare.

The best part is most of the “challenges” offered shouldn’t pose too much of an actual challenge if you’re not a total jerkwad. Stuff like “drink a locally made brew”, “bike to work” or “grab a healthy lunch” should come pretty naturally to you as a responsible urban dweller in the year 2010 and could mean a FREE lemonade with your empanada at Organic Carts NYC, or a FREE day pass to the NextSpace co-working space in San Francisco (which is useful if you’re a coffee shop-freelancer who’s tired of getting your laptop monitor all greasy.)

So now, if anyone gives you shit for being a smug urbanist who plans a whole meal based on what’s available at the Farmer’s Market or doesn’t wash his workout clothes for a week, you can just point out that you’re being charitable in the name of discounted goods.

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Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.