Amy Coenen placed 20 $5 bills, each inscribed with quotations on the theme of giving, in places around the city ??? the straw container at a Starbucks, the floor of an apartment building lobby ??? where they might be found and inspire generosity.

And Helen Coster slipped the whole $100 into a thank-you card and asked a friend to hand it to the clerk at Duane Reade who regularly cheers her up.

As acts of philanthropy go, none of the above would rate particularly high on any measure of effectiveness. They do get points for creativity, however, which, to Courtney Martin, the 30-year-old minor-league benefactor who spawned them, is an undervalued aspect of charitable giving. ???Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted,??? she likes to say, quoting a fellow maladjust, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.