Turning a $1000 donation into $1 million

About five years ago, I was onstage at a speaking engagement talking about the work of our foundation, Virgin Unite. A woman in the crowd was moved by our efforts on everything from ocean conservation to supporting entrepreneurs, and decided to run up onstage. She promptly gave me a cheque for $1,000 to donate to Virgin Unite.

I was sure to get her contact afterwards and take the time to call her and say thank you. Her name is Christine McDannell, and she is now a brilliant serial entrepreneur. She runs an eco spa called Eco Chateau (which she has just sold), and has previously sold an eco-friendly cleaning business, amongst other ventures.

Christine never forgot my thank you call. When she heard I was in Paris, she decided to drop in and surprise me. She ran in, and this time generously gave me a $100,000 cheque to donate to Virgin Unite. It just goes to show the importance of saying thank you, and the value of paying it forward.

We caught up and I heard about her latest adventures, including a company called Kindred Quarters that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to live together and share living costs, cleaners, cooks and personal assistants. She also told me about a party she had thrown recently, raising funds for the hurricane recovery efforts.

In the long-term, Christine said that she aims to donate $1 million to Virgin Unite. Now that really would be incredible – turning her original $1000 into a million. I certainly wouldn’t bet against her. 

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