It’s been more than 230 days since Carlo Garcia bought a cup of coffee.
That’s because in April, the Chicago resident realized that he could change lives and inspire others to do the same — all for the price of his morning joe.
“One day this idea popped into my head: How hard would it be to give back to charity every day? What’s stopping us from doing that?” said Garcia, who catalogs his daily donations on his blog, Living Philanthropic.
“Because I don’t make a whole lot of money, I had to look at my finances and see what areas of unnecessary spending I could cut,” he said.
That’s when Starbucks got the boot in favor of free coffee at the ticketing company where Garcia works.
“That’s five dollars right there that could go to charity,” Garcia said.
While charities still rely primarily on the Bill Gateses and Warren Buffetts of the world, Garcia is a new breed of benefactor: a “microphilanthropist.” And even though he can only give a little, some experts believe that he and his fellow mini-donors have the potential to change the altruistic landscape.
Each day, Garcia chooses a different non-profit organization to donate to, giving anywhere from $5 to $200. He often gets suggestions for which charities to give to from the roughly 5,000 followers he has amassed on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Garcia estimates that so far, he’s given away about $2,500 and his followers $3,400. While those amounts may be modest, Garcia says, those contributions will pay dividends.
“You don’t have to be rich and famous to make a little bit of good in your community, and that good will have a ripple effect,” he said.