It sounds at first like a typical assignment for a high school English class. Students at Belmont Hill School are asked to think of someone they encounter in their daily lives who might need a financial boost and record a short video essay about them and why they’re important in their lives. Then comes the unusual part: some of the students will be provided a $1,000 check to give to the person they select.
The money comes from an unusual philanthropic project called VING, run by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation. The program is national, and anyone aged 14 to 18 can nominate someone to get this thousand dollar check that the teen then has to deliver. It has been running for a few years, and every year, the foundation gives out hundreds of these checks, totaling nearly a million dollars over the course of the effort.
Students who are accepted are sent a check to deliver to the recipient, and are asked to have a friend come along as they deliver it and film the surprise gift with a cellphone camera. The videos all appear on the VING YouTube channel, and sometimes local TV news crews tag along as well.