August 13, 2014 7:26 pm
Updated: August 14, 2014 10:03 am

Organizers hope Cash Hunt creates ripple effect of ‘paying it forward’


HALIFAX – Two Saint Mary’s University students are hoping a hunt for hidden cash in Halifax brings out the best in Haligonians.

Dylan Smibert, 27, is a master’s student in psychology. He is also the founder of Altruistic Current, a project designed to stimulate and track altruism and altruistic acts. Altruism is defined as selfless behaviour, often to the benefit of another individual’s welfare.

Smibert and Blaine Mackie, also a master’s student in psychology, are the organizers of Cash Hunt, a city wide scavenger hunt.

The event takes place Saturday and involves eight hidden cards in the metro Halifax area, from Cunard Street to South Street and from a couple blocks west of Robie Street to the waterfront.

These eight cards will hold cash value when traded in.

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Each card has a cash value, which ranges between $20 and $100 dollars. Smibert and Mackie will tweet and Facebook clues to one card every hour.

Once the card is found, the person who found it can trade it in near the Clock Tower at Citadel Hill, which is where the pair will be based Saturday, for money. Smibert and Mackie plan to track how the individual spends the money and post it to their website.

The idea is a play on Hidden Cash, another social media project that gained momentum earlier this year.

But Smibert said this Cash Hunt wants to get people thinking about others rather than themselves.

“If they find cash, the premise is that you will take a portion of it and you’ll do something nice or kind for a friend, a stranger or a charity within Halifax,” he said.

“The $20, $50, $100 isn’t the main prize. It’s the ability that you’re able to go and do something nice for somebody. We think people will really value that.”

“We want people to see how great it is to potentially do altruistic acts,” Mackie said.

“What I found in those Hidden Cash hunts is people find the money and that’s the last you hear of it. What we want people to do is find the cards then come back to us and we’re going to get their story from them, what they’re planning on doing with the money.”

Smibert said it would be ideal if the pay it forward concept continued past the first recipient.

The pair think Halifax is particularly suited for the event and add they think altruism has the ability to strengthen and improve the community.

“One of the reasons that we wanted to do this in Halifax is because we think Haligonians would take this event and do great things with it. We think there’s some great stories out there,” Mackie said.

“I think it questions people’s values a little bit. Especially when it comes to money, I think a lot of people put money at a very high standard. So asking people to give away money, I think that allows for a value shift,” Smibert said.

“When you decide the act of doing something kind for someone is worth more than the value of the money you have, I think that’s really where it will hit Haligonians.”

Smibert said the pair plan to hold cash hunts every month until the winter.

They also say are no repercussions if someone does not pay it forward.

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