When billionaire philanthropist Rob Hall recently spoke at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth commencement, he gave each graduate an envelope filled with $500 to keep for themselves and another with $500 to give to any good cause. He told students that he remembered losing everything in the dot-com crash and that he and his wife now experience deep joy giving their money away. And he wanted graduates to have that same experience.

“If they get to feel that joy themselves, then maybe it becomes something they want to do again, and make part of their own lives,” Hale told The New York Times. “In America and the world, these are times of turmoil, and the more we help each other, the better off we’ll be.”

Students used their donations in various ways: one giving to an ill family friend struggling with bills, another donating to the YMCA where she learned to swim as a child and another giving to a local group that provides holiday gifts to children in need that had helped her family when she was a child.

Read more about this memorable commencement ceremony here.