The Incubator of GOOD Has Arrived!

by J. Money - Published January 18, 2017

rockstar love

Hi guys!!!

I’m soooooo excited to share this today. We finally got our philanthropy project off the ground! Check it out –> RockstarCommunityFund.org

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Ugh – another charity project out there, borrrring….” To which I’d respond, “See what we’re doing first Judgy McJudgerton! I guarantee you’ve never seen this before ;)” To which you’d probably hit back with, “Okay fine – but I’m not giving you any money!” And which I’d say, “Great! Because we are the ones who are actually giving YOU money!”

And that’s very much true.

After literally YEARS of trying to figure out how to best harness our community here TO DO GOOD, my partner-in-crime and I (Nate St. Pierre, who you might remember from our Love Drop days) finally come up with an idea that we think is half genius/half crazy. And thankfully we already know it works because we tested it last month :)

We handed out fifty $20 Visa cards (what we’re dubbing #GivingCards) to people in our forums, with the only rules being that they have to go out and use it to better someone’s life, and then come back and tell us what they did.

And what they did was AMAZING.

rockstar #givingcards

We hit roughly half of the entire United States, all the way through Canada and even as far as India (!!). One person even snuck a few into the White House for random acts of kindness.

Yup, the White House.

(Last we checked it was still sitting in a coffee table book right outside the Oval Office – hah)

I couldn’t even make up this stuff because it was all done by people in our community dropping love in their own personal way. Here were some other things they did that completely blew us away:

  • One person turned the $20 into over $300 from her own community, and then anonymously used it to pay off the overdue lunch accounts at their local middle school for underserved kids. (Which ended up landing on the front page of their town’s paper!)
  • One giver used it to help make a Syrian refugee’s resettlement house feel a little more like home.
  • And then another person went totally personal and custom-made a pillow for a grieving widow, using shirts from her late husband (!!). I’m not going to lie – I teared up.

All of these were done with just $20 and putting in some thought. Proving once again that small acts of kindness stretch far!! Especially when you do it in a way that’s meaningful to you.

And that’s what our new Community Fund is all about. Helping people give in a fun and meaningful way. And to help facilitate that we’re starting with three simple projects:

  1. The #GivingCards Project — What I mentioned above, where every month we hand out a stack of $20 Visa Cards to whoever wants them, so long as they promise to use them for Good and share what they did.
  2. #DebtDrop — Where we look for people struggling with debt, and then shoot them a no-strings-attached $50 to give them a little hope for the day and let them know they’re not alone. This project was inspired, and is led by Melanie Lockert of DearDebt.com who has been doing this behind the scenes on her own blog going on a year now (and having given out over $900 already!).
  3. And then lastly, our Just-In-Time Giving initiative — Where we set aside a little money to be used on the fly anytime we see a need for it in our community. For example, last month we found out that fellow blogger Athena Lent was diagnosed with cancer, so we were able to quickly give some money to her fundraising page for future surgeries. It’s nice having money set aside to be able to help fast!

And that’s what our Community Fund is in a nutshell:  a pot of money to be able to help those around us in a direct, and powerful way – every single month.

Whether through one of our current three initiatives above, or future ones we are inspired to fund that are sent to us by our members. So if you have an idea of your own you’ve always wanted to do (or are currently doing and want to amplify it!), let us know! We’re thinking of the entire initiative really as an “incubator of good” :)

rockstar community fund

There are other ways to get involved as well if it’s something that moves you. Here’s our main page with details – Get Involved With the RCF – but the thing we REALLY need the most right now is just getting the word out. The bigger we can make this thing, the more good we can do month after month after month. (And of course $$$ always helps too)

Last month’s test was just a quick hacked together go at it, and that alone produced over $1,900 of good in literally a matter of weeks. So just imagine what we can do when we really pour on the focus! I can’t even explain how excited I am about it all right now…

As someone who doesn’t naturally go out of his way to give back financially,  this will be helping ME as much as it does others. And to be able to harness our whole community HERE to do it?? With my favorite people in the world??

Man…

So thank you so SO much for being such a big supporter of me and my projects over the years, because honestly without that the RCF or this blog – or any of my projects for that matter – wouldn’t have seen the light of day. It’s because of you all that I’ve had the confidence to run with all these crazy ideas, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for continually supporting me. It really does mean a lot.

Okay, that’s enough mushiness for now ;) Just wanted to share my enthusiasm and give you a quick heads up on the latest venture here, and would love to see y’all in the mix as time goes on.

Any questions/concerns/ideas at all about the RCF, shoot ’em on over. We’re still very much in “launch” mode here, but we’ll be ironing out the kinks and getting better as we go… You can also find a list of FAQs we’ve put together here.

Thank you thank you, thank you!

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
– Mother Teresa

******
PS: If you’d like to experience the #GivingCards project, I’ve set aside 5 extra cards (All gone now – sorry!) this month for readers of this blog as we’ve already gone through our first batch for Jan :) Just fill out this form here and the first 5 people will get one!

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emma Healey January 18, 2017 at 5:56 am

Oh man, that pillow. I’m tearing up too! I love that RCF entrusts people to do good in the best way they see fit. It’s a great initiative.

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2 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 7:00 am

That one got to me too – people are SO THOUGHTFUL!!

Can’t wait to see what our current batch brings out in people :)

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3 Mrs. Mad Money Monster | @madmoneymonster January 18, 2017 at 6:33 am

One word…AMAZING! What good is an excess of money if you can’t help other people?! I was so stoked (do people still use that word? ;) after reading about this that I made sure to sign up this morning. Fingers crossed I was in the Top 5! Keep up the great work!

Mrs. Mad Money Monster

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4 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 7:13 am

That makes me so happy!!! Thank you for wanting to try it Stoked Monster! ;)

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5 Frugalinthevalley January 18, 2017 at 6:51 am

Hi J Money, just found you whilst listening to a podcast on Optimal Finance. Your site is fab and the way you write is so fun and entertaining, it makes me want to save even more.

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6 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

Awww, very cool – thank you for telling me so :) And now you have a voice to go along w/ my words from that show – even though it’s not my own! Haha…

Going over now to check out your blog :)

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7 Biglaw Investor January 18, 2017 at 7:10 am

I’m sad I missed out on this in the forums. Such a great idea and I’m blown away by the creativeness for $20. At first, you think $20 isn’t that much (or maybe that’s just because I live in NYC) but then you see all the ideas that everyone came up with and it’s inspiring. I particularly liked the member that paid off the school lunch balances. Such a great unexpected holiday gift!

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8 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 7:20 am

Right??

And it’s not too late to grab a card either as I just put aside 5 new ones for anyone here who wants to try it :) Although one of them is already gone now (woo!).

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9 Band of Savers January 18, 2017 at 7:22 am

Some times we get too caught up with all of the big things going on around us that we forget how far the little things can go. Great job J. I think that, for the most part, all of us PF bloggers have gotten into this because we have a desire to use what we’ve learned to help other people. It’s very inspiring to actually see that goal coming to fruition in you.

Keep up the great work and never stop dreaming.

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10 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 7:25 am

Thanks man. You’ve been supporting me since you came onto the scene and really appreciate that :)

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11 The Green Swan January 18, 2017 at 7:27 am

Nicely done J$ and Nate! I think its a great cause and a very creative and inspiring idea. Count me in as a donor and promoter! Small acts of kindness can do great things to cheer folks up as you showed with those examples from the first month, amazing stories!

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12 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:14 am

I heart you so much – thank you.

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13 Apathy Ends January 18, 2017 at 7:43 am

People put a lot of time and thought into what they did with $20 – it was awesome to read through the stories and I look forward to more!

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14 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:24 am

Right??? Took me WEEKS to finally give mine out because I was waiting for the *perfect* person/idea/etc. I ended up finding him and I think me just talking one-on-one for 1 hour might have been even more special to him than the $20 (though he was surprised an almost stranger offered him that too. The best part was him asking how he can pay it forward and wondering if he can start a project in his own community! YES!!!! Ripple effect!)

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15 Go Finance Yourself! January 18, 2017 at 7:46 am

Really cool J$. I love the concept – very creative! Thanks for sharing this. Excited to hear more!

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16 Seeking Saturdays January 18, 2017 at 8:35 am

Oh man. Big thumbs up! I love the ideas. I can’t wait to see what great stories come out of this. Even if they’re just little things to turn someone’s day around, you never know what changes might happen in someone’s life if they know someone cares about them.

Good job J$! It’s nice to see the fund doing something a little different. (since approach life a little differently haha)

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17 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:32 am

i’m not very good at doing things the normal way :)

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18 ESI Money January 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

Love that you are doing this and have the heart to help others.

Blessings…

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19 Primal Prosperity January 18, 2017 at 8:45 am

I love what you guys are doing! While writing checks to big charities has merits, it is much more fun to give when it feels like a sense of community, or a sense of belonging to something so much bigger than yourself. It is like an amplifying effect.

You also motivated me to start a project that I’ve been thinking about for years… can’t wait to report back to you after Saturday!

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20 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:35 am

i can’t wait either!!! I’m so excited for you! :)

(And thank you again for your generous financial support of the RCF too. I know I already told you but i’m going to keep doing it because it fully funded an entire month of doing good!!!)

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21 Mrs. Picky Pincher January 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

I’m so, so, so excited to participate in this month’s #GivingCards project! You guys have really outdone yourself with this. :) I’m a little intimidated by the great things other people have done with the $20, but I know mine will have a great impact too. :)

It’s great to see y’all are doing other projects too. It’s all about helping people at the end of the day. :)

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22 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:42 am

I know – it intimidates me too, but as long as we all do it in a way that makes US happy and the person we’re helping, that’s all that matters :) Sometimes we’ll do something incredible, and others much more lowkey/boring but the love it produces can never be bad for anyone.

At least that’s what I tell myself anytime I’m feeling lame about what I want to do with my #GivingCard haha… It’s crazy too – I saw all the stories and joy people were getting from all the giving, but it wasn’t until I *experienced it myself* until I finally GOT it. I literally felt myself started to shake as I was handing the card over – was such a powerful feeling!!

http://forums.rockstarfinance.com/t/the-givingcards-project-mission-2-give-a-financial-boost-to-someone-struggling/1503/2

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23 Brittany January 18, 2017 at 9:19 am

I love this! We spent the month of December doing small Random acts of kindness with our Elf on the Shelf and it has transformed my kids’ way of thinking about giving and receiving. For my daughter’s birthday this year, she has asked that in lieu of presents her friends bring a stuffed animal to donate to our local Emergency Room to provide comfort to those children that may be scared. Doing the littlest thing could make all of the difference in the world to one person. J$ keep doing what you’re doing!

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24 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

Ahhhhh – my heart! She is so precious!

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25 Upwards of Twenty January 18, 2017 at 9:35 am

What a fantastic idea. I have a few ideas of how to use the $20. You and your blogs continue to amaze me. Keep spreading the wealth it will come back to you for sure.

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26 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

Good! Can’t wait to hear how it all goes down in real life :)

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27 Amanda @centsiblyrich January 18, 2017 at 9:39 am

LOVE the impact this has made in my life and so many others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and the inspiration to go out and do GOOD. Now I’m constantly looking for new opportunities to give/be kind, which is a fantastic outlook to have each day.

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28 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:45 am

That’s the best part of it all, isn’t it? Always being aware of those around you and *looking* for ways to help them vs being in our own thoughts all the time. Thank you for supporting us from day 1 :)

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29 [email protected] January 18, 2017 at 9:50 am

What an awesome idea! It truly is better to give than to receive. Awhile back the church my wife and I went to did something similar…gave everyone an envelope of cash and told us to give it to someone. I gave it to a boy who was about 12 years old who I often saw on the train selling M&Ms. He would say that he was selling candy to make some extra cash and to stay out of trouble. I would buy candy from him when I saw him. But that day, I gave him the cash from the envelope and he asked me how many bags of M&Ms I wanted. I told him that I didn’t want any and that he could keep the money. He gave me the biggest smile and a fist bump. It was an awesome feeling…Love hearing the stories about how the money was given out.

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30 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 10:59 am

Woww that’s so cool! And progressive of your church too – I’m impressed!

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31 Vee January 19, 2017 at 10:27 am

Our church used to do something called “Change for a Dollar” where we had buckets out and the idea was we’d all give a dollar. Then we had to keep our ears open for a need in our community that week and let one of the pastors know…usually we’d give the money to a neighbor or co-worker or something, somebody we just came into contact with throughout the week. A few I remember were replacing a widow’s roof, helping single parents pay the rent, fixing a car, paying for medical food needs that aren’t covered by insurance…it was a great weekly practice.

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32 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Love that on so many levels :)

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33 Gary @ Super Saving Tips January 18, 2017 at 9:53 am

What a great project! It’s interesting to see the different ways people have helped and I’m sure it’s just the beginning. So many people think about kindness and charity during the holiday season and then it simply fades from consciousness the rest of the year. We need to keep the kindness going all year round and this is an amazing way to help do that.

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34 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

I know – i’m hoping and praying the whole project doesn’t fall flat on its face now that December is over, haha, but so far we’re not having a problem giving out the cards (went through 25 in 48 hours!) so it’s looking good so far :)

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35 J Rubin January 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

This is such a great idea! I would sign up to receive a card to pass on, but I feel like I would be holding on to it forever waiting for the “one special moment/person/need/etc.”. So instead of using your card, I will put aside a few dollars of mine and use it when the time comes – but reference your cause/fund. I try to keep a line item in my budget to pay it forward and help someone when I can, so this fits in nicely. It’s great to see it being implemented in such a huge way – great job!!!

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36 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 11:02 am

That works!! Def. let us know what you end up doing :)

And I’m the same way with the card. After the initial joy of handing it out after waiting for 3 weeks, I started missing it in my pocket again :( It’s weird because cash in your pockets is pretty much the same thing, but there’s something about that card or at least *earmarked* money there waiting to be unleashed at any time. Feels so empowering.

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37 Mrs. BITA January 18, 2017 at 10:42 am

I loved being able to participate in the test last month (I’m the one who hit India). The excitement of the community was infectious. Sharing the stories was a brilliant idea because it made you more engaged in the process – you wanted to have a good story to tell and so you took extra time to think about how to best make an impact. This is a wonderful project. Well done, J$ and Nate.

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38 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 11:03 am

yeahh!!!! Thank you again for jumping in testing it out with us! now we get to do it for months to come :)

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39 Miss Mazuma January 18, 2017 at 10:45 am

Yeah!! Love to see all the good that everyone is doing!! The spirit of this idea and how the community has taken hold and run with it is so inspiring. My mind is churning everyday with how I can help others and thanks in part goes to you guys. :) Keep up the heart (get it?!) work!!

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40 J. Money January 18, 2017 at 11:06 am

I’ll try and BEAT it :)

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41 Lee January 18, 2017 at 11:25 am

I love these ideas! The $20 card and use your imagination to brighten someone’s day is a great idea and I can’t wait to hear more stories of imaginative ways to give.

The $50 to your debt is also an idea that I think is great. I’ve been working on my own debt now for a couple of years and every little bit is a blessing so I know that the people who receive this must be so grateful and it even might help them feel like they can take a deep breath for just a moment from the crushing feeling of debt. There is light at the end of the tunnel folks, keep digging yourself out of the hole.

I give every year to our local Humane Society. This year we gave dog cookies so all the four legged kids could have something different for Christmas, the year before we gave blankets. This year we are hoping to give out dog beds for as many kennels as we can.

Keep striving to make a difference, it’ll be appreciated.

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42 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I think the best part of the projects are seeing what people are passionate about – like you and doggies :) I think that’s when we do our best work/giving/love – when we care so much about something!!

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43 Deb January 18, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Genius idea. Simple. Straightforward and what a great way to amplify the GOODNESS. People have been very creative with the cards. Impressive. I shared your project here https://debh2u.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/spreading-goodness-with-givingcards/

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44 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Thank you so much!!! So nice of you for sharing!

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45 Smart Provisions January 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

That’s awesome, J$!

Always cool to help out people in need. The $20 cards will definitely help someone out and it will make their day better!

Keep up the great work!

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46 Kraken Fireball January 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

This is an awesome initiative! I think that this community can do a lot of good with just a little bit of money since we are all quite financially savvy. Rock on!

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47 PaulM January 18, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I took part in the December card giveaway and I knew who I was giving the card to before I asked for one. I never thought of holding on to it until the right time and person came along.

I think J$ hit the nail on the proverbial head when you mentioned the ripple effect. Just giving the card made me more generous during the holiday season and the spirit has stayed with me. And the person I gave it to could have used it herself but spent it on her beloved animals.

We definitely need more kindness in the world and this site is a true model to follow.

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48 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm

I love it that you joined us, Paul. Now we can keep on doing the good all year long! :)

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49 Ms. Montana January 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm

So, I am very excited about the project. BUT. You know what else is so cool? I LOVE seeing how excited and passionate you are about it! Seeing a person on fire and running full speed towards something they are passionate about is hands down one of my favorite things in the world. So I’m really glad this was created to help others, but I’m also very glad YOU helped create it. =)

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50 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Thank you Ms. Montana :) It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about projects, so it’s felt REALLY good to finally be chasing my dreams!! And even better that it involves the rest of our community!

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51 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life January 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I can’t wait to get that card in the mail! We’ve had a rough January ourselves, and are hitting choppy financial waters because of it, so I’m looking forward to being able to do something for someone else. It’s as much good for my heart to know we did a little something for someone who needs it as it is for helping them.

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52 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Yes, this is SO true. These cards are meant to make us just as happy as those who we give them too. I hope y’alls situation gets better here real soon!

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53 Lisa O January 19, 2017 at 8:51 am

That is great and what a great feeling I received reading it! Not only are the winners of the VISA cards helping others…..they are helping themselves. Doing acts of kindness is so good for the soul what a WIN WIN Situation!

It reminds me of…..”I always want to be someone better the next day than I was the day before!” I love those words from an earlier post of yours….

Thanks ~ Have A Great Day!

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54 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm

YES!! One of the best quotes EVER. From Sidney Poitier :)

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55 zolar January 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

yeah.. giving away some of our is one of great..
giving and we can get another thing..
great job bro

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56 ZJ Thorne January 22, 2017 at 12:41 am

This is such a lovely project. Thank you for creating more avenues for people to do good in tangible ways. Makes the world a little brighter.

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57 Noonan January 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Great idea—i’ve sent in a Paypal Benjamin to fund five giveaway gift cards (and hopefully five good stories about giving).

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58 J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Yayyyy!!! That powers a bunch of goodness to give out – thank you, sir! :) Really glad to see you back online again lately too – the world needs your brain!

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59 Fiscally Free January 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

This is really cool! Bravo.

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60 J. Money January 27, 2017 at 7:05 am

Thanks! Spread the word, pleaaaaaase!

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