The $100 Solution uses a model which requires partnership, reciprocity, capacity building, sustainability and reflection. Use of this model encourages global citizenship through civic and community engagement.
Originally a service learning curriculum in Belize, The $100 Solution has taken a more international focus and expanded across the globe. Dr. Bernard Strenecky pioneered the idea on the basis that $100 can make a substantial difference in the lives of others, if invested in a sustainable capital.
During his long career in higher education, Dr. Strenecky observed that students were volunteering in ways that did not utilize their intellectual abilities; and neither taught them very much, nor made any significant difference in communities. At times, the “help” provided was not what the communities wanted or needed. Shortly before he retired, Dr. Strenecky had an epiphany. As he sat in church one Sunday morning, the minister asked the congregation to reach under the pew. Three hands came up with white envelopes, each containing a crisp 100 dollar bill. These individuals were asked to go into the community to “do good” and multiply the amount they had been given. Dr. Strenecky realized there are many unmet needs in communities around the globe that can easily be addressed with a small amount of funds – not millions or thousands of dollars but simply one hundred dollars. After considerable reflection, The $100 Solution was born, a dynamic program that creates change makers as well as change. Dr. Strenecky confesses: “I had the shortest retirement in history – it only lasted three days.”
The Prospect-Goshen Rotary Club in Kentucky hosted the expansion of the program along with Semester at Sea, a collegiate study abroad program. To aid in the furthering of the concept, a method for different campuses and communities to integrate projects utilizing The $100 Solution has been developed.
The $100 Solution has evolved at light speed into what we see today as an organization with more than 100 people personally invested in its development on a day-to-day basis and over 300 projects conducted worldwide. The organization now boasts a fully functioning Board of Directors (all of which have participated in $100 Solution projects and are under the age of 30), that works in conjunction with the Prospect-Goshen Rotary Club and an Advisory Board comprised of seasoned professionals from a myriad of industries.
The $100 Solution™ projects are investments in the futures of families and communities, and students develop a strong sense of civic responsibility from the impact of their work. The $100 Solution has been the foundation that has launched several trusts, scholarships, and funds to help further the Rotary motto of: “Service Above Self’.”