Giving that keeps on giving: In 1784 Benjamin Franklin wrote the following letter to a man names Benjamin Webb:

“Dear Sir: Your situation grieves me and I send you herewith a banknote for 10 louis d’or [a former French currency]. I do not pretend to give you such a sum; I only lend it to you. When you shall return to your country, you cannot fail of getting into some business that will in time enable you to pay all your debts. In that case, when you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending the sum to him, enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation when he shall be able and shall meet with such another opportunity.

I hope it may thus go through many hands before it meets with a knave that will stop its progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money. I am not rich enough to afford much in good works, and so I am obliged to be cunning and make the most of a little.

With best wishes for your future prosperity,

I am, dear sir, you most obedient servant. B. Franklin.”

Source: The Best of Bits & Pieces, 1994, New Jersey: The Economics Press, p.78-80