The quote “We rise by lifting others” by Robert Ingersoll speaks to the heart and soul of the VING Project which is “sparking the next generation of giving” with one teenager and one thousand dollars at a time. I had the honor to speak with Liz Lefkofsky, who along with her husband Eric founded the VING Project as a mission to give back to others while celebrating amazing teenagers.
“Somewhere along the way we must learn there is nothing greater than to do something for others.” Martin Luther King Jr.
For fifteen years Liz and Eric Lefkofsky have been running the Lefkofsky Family Foundation. Liz has been deeply involved in education and the arts and observed how teenagers can get a bad rap. She knows teenagers are amazing people who need to be celebrated. Eric and Liz wanted to give teenagers the opportunity to experience the power of kindness and giving. For years Liz and Eric have been doing “small moves” where they anonymously help people in need on a one-on-one basis which has brought them so much joy. They wanted to share the joy of giving with teenagers in a way that was meaningful and could help others. So with the sky’s the limit and let’s celebrate our teens’ attitude VING was born.
“GiVING, ReceiVING, LoVING, BelieVING.” Liz Lefkofsky
The process of how the VING Project works is simple. Any teenager between the ages of 14-18 can submit a short nomination video to nominate a person whom the teen feels could use one thousand dollars. The person nominated cannot be a family member. Details such as how the teen knows this person and why they feel they could use the money needs to be included in the video. Liz, along with her assistant Alli watch all the videos and select qualified nominations to receive the one thousand dollars. VING notifies the teen their video has been approved, then sends the tax free one thousand dollar check for the recipient and a cool backpack for the teen directly to the nominating teenager because the teenager will give the person they nominated the check. This allows the teenager to experience the power of giving that will resonate with them for the rest of their lives in a powerful exchange of humanity. Teens chosen have shared how much it means to them that the VING Project trusts them with this one thousand dollars. This fully funded program has the ability to help many and feels the more people they can help, the merrier.
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” Karen Salmansohn
Liz has been in the nonprofit world all of her life. She fondly remembers her mother starting a nonprofit on their dining room table. She and Eric embrace the power of giving and getting outside of yourself to help with the needs of someone else. VING believes daily small moves and acts of kindness can have a big impact. When Liz watches the spectacular videos the teens have made, their compassion and kindness gives hope for the next generation. So far almost 1000 teenagers from all walks of life in all fifty states are shining examples of the power of giving and helping someone else. These magnificent teenagers are showing all of us how kindness changes people and can change lives.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
Liz shared teachers have become some of their greatest allies in getting nominations for the VING Project. VING has connected with some teachers who will use the VING Project in their classroom to have students write papers about giving to someone the teens know. If the teen chooses they can record a video to nominate someone for the VING Project. The VING Project wants to have an ocean of teens nominating people to give money to, sending waves of love to the giver, the recipient, and all other people around them. Liz says it is so much fun to give the money away. By witnessing the joy the teens and recipients experience is a gift.
It is with honor and admiration we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on the incredible VING Project. This national movement is bestowing our incredible teenagers to lead with generosity, kindness, and compassion. We thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.
To learn more about the remarkable VING Project: