When you think about personal finance, the first thing you think of is money. And you may think personal finance bloggers focus solely on money – how to make it, save it, spend it and invest it.
While this is true to a certain extent, for most bloggers, the issue goes far beyond money just for the sake of having more money. Most of them view money as a tool for life – for freedom, security and time. Even more, many see money as a tool to help others.
For all of these reasons, personal finance bloggers are my kind of people. More than anything, they are the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met.
I have proof.
Physician on Fire recently shared that he has over $100,000 in a Vanguard Charitable donor advised fund “destined for charity”. Ms. Montana of Montana Money Adventures has generously given from her designated Giving Fund and shares how to get started on one yourself.
Ms. ONL from Our Next Life, encourages us to Go Beyond Gratitude, stating, “Any of us who are even in a position to ponder the possibility of financial independence are already far luckier than most people walking this planet with us. We have more economic power than most, and with that power comes the responsibility to help, however we can.”
The Rockstar Community Fund
Not only were there so many great ideas for so many great causes, a few bloggers* even offered up some additional money of their own to help out. In the end, they had $1000 to give away.
With so many great ideas, they decided the absolute best way to spread the kindness was to give away fifty $20 Visa cards to be handed out as unexpected gifts to people in our respective communities (this wasn’t just limited to bloggers!). The only thing they asked of those who received a $20 card was to share in the forums the stories of how they distributed the $20.
An Unexpected Gift
To tell the truth, I thought I would have a great opportunity to do something awesome with the money before I received my $20 card in the mail from the Community Fund. So, I purchased my own $20 Visa card.
On December 15, I had to deliver my gift for the Adopt-a-Youth Holiday Giving program at a local homeless youth center**.
I knew they didn’t have all the youth adopted that had holiday needs. And I knew if I didn’t find anyone to give the $20 to while I was there, I could just give it to the youth center to give to a young adult in need.
But the most incredible thing happened while I was there. I dropped off my pledged gift for the holiday program and explained to the kind man at the front desk that I had an extra $20 to give, if he knew of anyone.
Sitting right there in the lobby of the Youth Center was a group of young adults. The man called out to one of them and asked her to come over to where I was standing. (Her name is Amanda too!) She was a bit hesitant at first, but made her way over.
The moment I explained I was giving her the $20 Visa card, her face instantly changed. She gave me a huge smile and I sensed her joy (and a bit of relief). I knew she could use it and it would help her. But her reaction and her friendly smile was the best unexpected gift of all that day.
I don’t know exactly what it was, but this indescribable feeling of peace, happiness, and gratitude came over me. And I wasn’t the only one who felt it. My dad was tagging along and he felt it too (and from the response from the man at the front desk, I’m guessing he felt it as well).
I still cannot find words to describe how I felt in that moment. What I can tell you is tears come to my eyes as I type this (happy tears). What Amanda did for me that day was nothing short of life changing.
I was going to reimburse myself with the $20 Visa card I received from the RCF when it arrived, but now I want to give that one away too. I have to give that one away too. I won’t stop there, either. I am committing to give at least one unexpected gift each month (I honestly have daydreams of giving away money after this experience).
So, there you have it. That’s how I used my first $20. I’ll definitely let you know how I use the second $20.
I can’t wait to continue to participate in the Community Fund project to help spread the love.
Do you know how incredibly powerful this could be?
A huge THANK YOU to J. Money and Nate for giving all of us the incentive to go out and change the world in amazing ways. Hugs to you guys. You’re the best.
How would you give an unexpected gift in your community? Don’t wait for a free Visa card to fall into your lap! Go out and make someone’s day today!
*Some bloggers who contributed include (but not limited to – let me know if I missed you!): MillennialMoney.com, ApathyEnds.com, TheRetirementManifesto.com, TJPridonoff.com, MissMazuma.com and FamZoo.com and many others chose to use their own $20.
**This program provides education, employment, safe housing and life skills to homeless youth (ages 16-25) in my community. Why homeless youth? I have teenagers myself. And the stats speak for themselves (from Covenant House):
- 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
- In the United States, as many as 20,000 kids are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
- According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
- More than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
- 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently and have limited education and no social support.
- Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.