The Chain Reaction of Giving

January 15, 2015


By JoAnn Turnquist


One of my favorite games growing up was dominos.  But I never actually followed the rules. Instead, I took my domino collection and made designs on the floor, relishing in the final act of seeing the long line knocked down by the touch of a finger.  It amazed me how a simple act of knocking down the first domino could start such a large chain reaction.

Likewise, giving can also start a chain reaction.  A simple act of kindness can make a long term difference in the lives of others and encourage them to follow your example.  At the Foundation we often meet folks who began their charitable giving simply because someone was kind to them.  One of our favorite examples is Helen’s Hugs, a fund established five years ago by Helen Clay with the goal of building teddy bears for patients at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia.  Helen was inspired to create the fund after receiving a gift as a young child while being hospitalized for cancer.  Helen remembered how much the small gift lifted her spirits and she wanted to do the same for other children.  One small gift has led to thousands of smiling faces.

Helen Clay shows us how inspirational service inspires others, sets off a chain reaction, and turns our short term act into long term significance.




JoAnn M. Turnquist is the President & CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that links charitable people and businesses with areas of need in the Midlands. To learn more about the Foundation and view more blog posts, visit


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