RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift


@ Nate - Hi Nate, I prefer meetups over coffee myself, rather than alcohol. I would actually like to try to find a community of similarly minded people to discuss collaboration ideas for community impact projects. I’ve looked on MeetUp.com but there really aren’t any groups that take the approach I’m looking for. It would be fun to have a similar community of this forum and the PF/FIRE blogging community, but in person. Email me if you are interested in something like this in Milwaukee. Thanks! [email protected]


@ Nate - Here is the post!


I absolutely love how you described the RCF #GivingCards as a $20 challenge to think outside the box and make an active contribution in your (our, I guess) community. So, so good!


I might make an appearance at a meeting like this, so just let me know if you get one going…


Low key, nice and easy, plus the mailman bonus - good stuff :wink:


I have one more to add from my side . . . I grabbed a card to put in an envelope (along with the letter, of course) for my three kids under the Christmas tree this year. When they opened and read it, I asked them to have a meeting together to decide how to use it to give an unexpected gift and make someone smile…

They decided to hide a brand-new snowman in their grandma’s foyer (which is positively FILLED with snowmen during Christmas - I’ll try to grab a pic if I can), so hopefully she’ll notice it and be filled with surprise, wonder, and happiness at how a random snowman wandered in, haha :slight_smile:

It was a really nice lesson on doing something anonymously for someone else, without needing any recognition . . . simply for the joy of it.

We got the snowman yesterday, and we’ll place him tomorrow. Here he is, waiting to be sent on his mission:


Three times since moving here in May, I’ve gone through all my clothes, purging the things that shouldn’t have moved at all. Every time I seem to find more new clothes with tags still on them that I’ve never touched, I’ve never worn. Fuzzy socks, which people seem to obsessed with giving as gifts, I find absolutely repulsive to the touch (#sorrymom). The first time that was the case, I reached out to the folks at my gym and a teacher replied to me. Raeford, the town I live in, has over 40% of its population living below the poverty line. It wasn’t until this teacher friend of mine shared stats about her school with me that I had any idea! I don’t have kids and living inside a gated community within Raeford- I knew nothing.

I’ve been giving clothes o this teacher friend of mine whenever I can. When I heard about the Rockstar Community Fund giving $20 for people to make an Unexpected Gift this month. I knew exactly where that $20 was going to go: To this teacher friend of mine. I passed the $20 on right to her for her to use as her classroom needed fit. I don’t know what she did with it- I don’t know if she bought a coat or school supplies for a student she needed. I’m confident that she put it to good use. I’m glad it could go somewhere it was put to good use.


The day I received my gift card I also got a call from a friend telling me about a mom and two kids who had been homeless for the past two years. They had just received housing but had nothing. I gathered up some items for them, bought a few more and added the gift card to a Christmas card and asked them to buy what they need and pay it forward when they can.


I decided to put $50 toward Athena, who plays a huge part in the FinCon community, to fight cancer.

I love hearing all these other stories! Such a great feeling to spread some joy and help people who need it.


Hey Nate!! Thanks for letting me participate in the Money Drop this month! Writing here now, to let you know that the third card has been placed, and guess what - I did not get arrested!

The third card wound up on a small coffee table outside this room in the White House called the Oval Office. There is a small book on this coffee table that has some facts about the West Wing and the Oval Office. One of the next people to look through that book will get a nice little surprise!

You asked about the other pictures. Those are from the The Secretary of War Suite in the White House Executive Building (EEOB) which is the building directly outside the West Wing. It houses all of the Presidents and Vice Presidents staff, and even has its own bowling alley!

Why did I enjoy this so much? Well, because, like you - I get a lot of enjoyment out of knowing that somewhere someone had an unexpected moment of joy from this. The fact I can leave these things around the White House during the holidays is just a super extra added bonus!


On December 24th, I realized my favorite neighborhood donut shop AND my favorite dog groomer were open despite it being a holiday weekend with NO traffic. These two women have been struggling all year with their fledgling businesses, yet they go out of their way to cheer me up every, single time I see them. So I remembered my shiny new $20 gift card that needed to be shared…

I ran out and bought a couple of bottles of wine, a couple of Dollar Tree gift bags, and grabbed a couple of Christmas cards out of my stock. I added personalized messages and threw together the two care packages to run over to them before lunch. They both were extremely surprised and seemed sincerely touched. They both made jokes about finishing off their bottle as their lunch. Their smiles were just awesome. Thank you so much, you guys. You helped brighten up Christmas Eve for two amazing entrepreneurs!!!



PICK IT UP O, Pick it up!!! :slight_smile:

@Crystal - Love that idea :slight_smile: All kinds of people need help regardless of their “status” in life. Very very thoughtful of you.

@deardebt - ack! I didn’t know that about Athena!!! great place to give $/love to… brainstorming here to see what else we can do as a community for her…


Here’s what we did with the money: We bought stuff for homeless kitties and pups!

I also threw in a photo of my pets in there, because of course. :slight_smile:

Super awesome to see how everyone else is using their cards - this was a fantastic idea!!


Oh, and just in case anyone wants to see what was written on the little cards housing the #GivingCards, here they are:


Can you get one in the Roosevelt Room?


We received our gift card and decided that we wanted to help the local animal shelter. But once we got to the store, we found that $20 just wasn’t going to buy a whole lot of cat and dog food. As a result, we decided that it would be a good idea for us to match the money from the card.

Surprisingly, $40 still didn’t buy a whole lot, but that was enough for us to get started.

My wife and son are both goofballs, so you can see how much fun they had while delivering this stuff.

The best part is that we’ve decided to set aside $40 a month for donations each month, starting in January. It’s nice to show my son how he can make a difference even on a small scale. Thanks to this community for getting this started!


Ha, you did it too, and also matched the $20! :smiley:

Luckily our shelter gets all its food donated from Science Diet, so we got to buy them some fun things.

High five! :slight_smile:


Hi Everyone, I decided to match the card’s value and donate money to Kim. She’s a single mom to four kids and one of her children is undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor. The money went toward a Walmart gift card for groceries and other sundries.

A private FB group has been set up to provide support and resources to the family. I noticed that some of the cash needs for the mom and those who are helping to take care of the children hadn’t been met (yet!).

A friend of Kim is handling the details. She has given me a great thanks but the rest of the story is still unfolding. Here’s a link to a blog post by Kim: http://www.notconsumed.com/became-notconsumed-cancer/.

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this giving movement and thanks for allowing me to double my gift.


Oh my goodness. Reading through these beautiful, thoughtful posts brought tears to my eyes. You are all such wonderful people and I truly feel honored to be a member of this group.

When I got the card, I first thought of my family and friends and if any of them needed help this season. My mom and step-dad in particular have been struggling with medical bills and chronic health issues for the past few years, but as I thought about all of the people I love, I realized that they are all taken care of, happy, loved and have more than enough <3 I think that alone was a big moment for me because I am often so focused on my own inner circle that I struggle to find energy to focus on people outside of it as well.

After some deliberating, I decided to use $5 to give a holiday card and Starbucks gift card to the women who cleans our building at work. She greets us every morning with a giant smile. But on my way to work that morning, I passed a homeless man on the side of the road. He was snuggled with his dog and in that moment, I decided to do a u-turn and give him the card and gift card instead. When I handed it to him though the window, he got a huge smile on his face and said “God bless.” While I waited at the red light, I watched him start to walk to the Starbucks on the corner. It’s funny how things work out. (I’m still planning to surprise the woman in our building with a gift card in the new year though!)

With the other $15, I bought a wool flannel to donate to our church’s clothing drive. The church is located across the street from a giant San Diego park that houses a large amount of homeless people. I donated the sweater on Christmas Eve.

It’s hard for me to talk about, but the truth is that I haven’t been as generous as I would have liked in 2016. I lived uncomfortably close to the poverty line from 2013-2015 while finishing my college degree and I think that the feelings of fear, pain and scarcity continued to haunt me this year. I still remember what it’s like to ashamedly take food from a food pantry and survive on pasta for months and become a shell of the person I was. Reconciling those experiences with my middle class childhood and current middle class adulthood are difficult, but the Giving Card reminded me that I don’t want to live in the past. I want to move into 2017 with generosity in my heart and help people who are experiencing hardships in whatever way I can. Thank you for the reminder, Rockstar <3


So sweet! Love the idea of getting the kids involved… Stealing that for next month! :slight_smile: