I recently started watching a new show on ABC on Sunday nights called “Secret Millionaire.” This reality TV show has multi-millionaires go undercover in extremely blighted areas of the country, searching out non-profit organizations to volunteer with and support financially. These millionaires spend a week living in an apartment no different than the typical housing set up for most people in the city. They also live on same amount of money that would buy the equivalent that food stamps would, which equals about $3 per meal. At the end of their stay in the inner city, these millionaires have to decide how they will divide certain amount of money amongst several charities.
I recently watched the episode of James Malinchak, a wealthy motivational speaker, who spent a week living in Gary, Indiana. I’ve been to Gary, driven down Broadway Street, and seen the utter disparity that plagues that city. I’m very grateful that living in a city like that is not my everyday reality. In this particular episode, James spends time working with three charities, an after school youth program, a urban cleanup organization, and a girls basketball training center. He spent several days with each, helping them out and hearing the stories of the people who had dedicated their lives to impacting their city through those organizations. At the end of the week, James wrote significantly large checks to each of these organizations that mostly scraped by up until that point.
One thing I like about the show is that it doesn’t place emphasis on what James or any other millionaire ended up doing (even if bloggers want to disagree and say its all a charade). All of the focus is on what the charities are doing for their community. Sometimes I think the affluent, (myself included) are very susceptible to just writing checks to help us feel good about themselves. While donating to worthy causes certainly have that effect, the point of giving shouldn’t be about making ourselves feel good. It has everything to do with the impact a donation can have on the lives of its beneficiaries.
Watching Secret Millionaire caused me to experience a wide range of emotions and I can guarantee that anyone who has any sense of right and wrong or justice and injustice will have similar feelings. If you haven’t watched the Secret Millionaire, I would highly recommend it. I would go as far to say that it’s one of the best shows on TV right now. Watch the Secret Millionaire on ABC at 8/7c