Matthew Chope, a planner and partner with the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Michigan, is a guy who collected mutual fund prospectuses as a teenager, and as an adult reads works of philosophy for fun. He says he spends most of his “waking hours working on developing ideas for creating positive systemic change for humanity.” Among his ideas was one he entered in American Express’s Members Project contest.
“The winning idea resulted in $2 million being given to provide clean water in Africa, which is a wonderful idea, but the idea I had would have given water to every person in the world, if that’s how they chose to use the dollars,” he enthuses. Chope’s idea was to have American Express members donate 10% of their earned rewards to charity. “What they’d be giving up is just more consumption, because they’ve already consumed a bunch of stuff to get the rewards in the first place, and we could have literally hundreds of millions of dollars every year, rather than just a $2 million gift from American Express.”