A mysterious San Francisco philanthropist has found a unique way of giving back to the community – leaving hidden cash all over the city.
According to a Bay Area online magazine called The Bold Italic, an ‘anonymous real estate magnate’ emailed them to “say that they’d launched a campaign just last night where they’re hiding cash all over San Francisco, including outside our office.” The email stated that the gesture would continue indefinitely, with no commercial interest whatsoever.
“There is nothing commercial about this,” wrote the benefactor. “It is a social experiment. Our Twitter page will show people where the money is hidden. There are a few hundred dollars hidden last night already, and this will continue. We have two $100 bills hidden and some $20s.”
I quickly checked the Twitter page of @Hidden Cash to see if this guy was for real. Turns out, he (or she) is really serious about giving away money. With over 42,000 followers, Hidden Cash regularly posts hints about where the randomly placed envelopes full of money can be found next. Some tweets indicate that the hidden cash project might soon go nationwide, San Jose being the next destination. And they’ve declared that there’s a huge giveaway coming up when they reach 100k followers.
Naturally, people are delighted when they follow the leads and end up finding the cash as promised. Hidden Cash’s account is flooded with tweets from happy campers. “I wish all millionaires followed @HiddenCash’s lead. This is the very meaning of paying it forward,” wrote one Twitter user. Several people are posting photographs of themselves posing with their wads of cash. One person posted a photo of the cash laden envelope. It reads: “Twitter @HiddenCash. Follow us for more and tweet when you find.”
Hidden Cash has clarified via Twitter that they are not a charity. “We support many charities too. This is for fun,” they wrote. But it is a rather unusual way to give away money. According to what they told The Bold Italic, they’ve made a lot of money in Bay Area real estate, and they just want to give some of it away.
“I just made half a million dollars flipping one house,” they wrote. I’ve made millions of dollars the last few years, more than I ever imagined, and yet many friends of mine, and people who work for me, cannot afford to buy a modest home in the Bay Area. This has caused me quite a bit of reflection. I am determined to give away some of the money I make, in addition to charity, to do it in fun, creative ways like this.”
They indicated that they do support several charities and food banks like the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, SF Food bank, but this is their way of giving back to the community and also having fun. “I was just kicking around ideas with a friend yesterday and we decided to start hiding a bunch of cash in different places around the city. The bigger idea is just to give back, both financially and a sense of fun to the community that has made me wealthy.”
Judging by the reactions on Twitter, the experiment sounds genuine, and it will continue indefinitely, as long as they keep getting more followers.