“because I said I would” speaker inspires SMUMN students

— By Chloe Morrison,

News section editor —


Acclaimed speaker and philanthropist Alex Sheen portrayed a powerful message about what it means to make and fulfill a promise during his presentation at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota on Thursday, August 26.

Students and faculty alike crowded into the Page Theatre to attend the event, which was sponsored by SMUMN, to hear Sheen’s story and learn more about the organization he created. Sheen came up with the concept for his organization when his father passed away from cancer in 2012. His father, who always kept his word, inspired Sheen to pass on a message: “The promises we make and keep define us.”

Sheen began to create white business cards that read “because I said I would,” so that when people made a promise to another person, they would give the other person the card, and that person would return it when the promise was fulfilled. He posted about the cards on Reddit, a social media website, and offered to mail them free of charge. Today, he has mailed out more than 3.5 million of these promise cards around the world.


Alex Sheen's "because I said I would" cards

Alex Sheen’s “because I said I would” promise cards have been delivered to over 153 countries around the world
Photo by Allison Christensen

Sheen has honored many promises since the nonprofit’s creation. At the beginning of 2013, he fulfilled a random promise card for every week of the year; in 2014, he volunteered at different nonprofit organizations every week. Sheen walked 240 miles across Ohio to raise funds and awareness for the three kidnapping victims found in Cleveland in 2013.

Some of his fulfilled promises have gained attention from major news outlets and have helped Sheen spread the message of “because I said I would” on platforms such as CNN, The Today Show, and the Los Angeles Times.

The organization is “a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept,” Sheen said.

In the future, Sheen hopes to set up various chapters of “because I said I would” around the world to continue spreading the message. He ended the presentation with an emphasis on the importance of keeping promises and honoring commitments.

“You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up,” Sheen said.


SMUMN students created their own promise cards

SMUMN students are filling a board in the Toner Student Center with their own promises.
Photo by Allison Christensen


Author: The Cardinal

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