As a world, we celebrate many things, although few with as much fervor as sports. But one thing we don’t celebrate nearly enough is good deeds, according to a new organization called the Olympics of Social Good. What would our world and our lives be like if we celebrated the idea of good the way we celebrate sports? What would it even mean to celebrate good? What would that celebration be like? How could it be accomplished? Who would participate? Targum Shlishi is supporting the initial phase of the Olympics of Social Good as one of the first 100 “movers.”
A movement dedicated to promoting good
The Olympics of Social Good (OSG), founded in 2016 in Jerusalem, is not simply an initiative; instead, it aims to be a movement. And, like most movements, it’s looking to grow. Its ambitions are broad and far-reaching. “We’re looking to reveal and grow the abundance of the world by unlocking the currency of gratitude one good deed at a time,” says Sarah Kass, OSG founder.
As the OSG explains, our athletic Olympics are international events where 3.7 billion people watch a small number of people do at a high level what most of us know how to do a little bit. Kass and her team imagine an Olympics of Social Good that reverses the equation: the billions are the Olympians, and the activity, or event, is the simple act of giving and thanking.
The OSG intends to gamify giving and thanking, to make gratitude a currency that gives people status and giving power. The more you have, the more benefits you receive; the more you have, the more you can pool with others to benefit your community, your city, or even our world.
“The world has long known gratitude is a spiritual currency that advances well-being. The OSG aims to help us realize it is indeed our most powerful currency,” Kass says. “By releasing this currency in cities around the world, we are providing individuals with a tool to put them on the path toward Olympian goodness, we are giving communities a tool to deepen cohesion and engagement, and we are creating for cities a tool with which to monitor social cohesion and civic engagement and incentivize growth.”
A simple idea
“This initiative is unusual, bold, and worthy,” says Aryeh Rubin, founder and director of Targum Shlishi. “It is the simplest of ideas—let’s cultivate and encourage people to be good. And yet, humanity has not managed to get to that place. Many people, regardless of how fundamentally well-meaning they are, would struggle with the idea of regularly doing one good deed, such as doing one every day. A program like this, which is actively seeking to promote the practice of this concept of good, is intriguing and promising.”
Today and tomorrow
The first phase of the organization’s work includes building an app that is intended to catalyze people to give and thank in a way that is easy, fun, and compelling (in the manner of other mobile phone apps).
The OSG has already involved more than thirty global organizations and more than one thousand people in several countries to help advance its core mission and strategy. The founders of OSG are actively seeking corporate partners and others that will help its growth.
OSG is currently one of the organizations in Columbia Business School’s Incubator for Spiritual Entrepreneurs. The next steps include developing the app and selecting pilot cities. The OSG plans to launch in five cities in 2019, and to do a worldwide launch in 2020. To learn more about this movement or to get involved, visit the OSG’s website.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter.