RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift


For this month’s mission, we gave out 50 RCF Giving Cards
(a giving card is a $20 Visa card funded by the Rockstar Community Fund)

Here’s what we asked of our community during this holiday season:

Use your card to give an unexpected gift to someone in your world.

“This can be a friend, family member, co-worker, or even a stranger on the street. Our goal is to show that even a small amount of money can make a huge impact, and the more creative you can get, the better. Use it to help a struggling family, brighten the day of a service worker in a thankless job, delight a child, or bring a tear to the eye of an old friend.”

This is the page where participants will share what they did with their cards.

Check back throughout the month to see!

P.S. I made a quick map to show how far the RCF Giving Cards spread out on our first mission . . . 23 states, one Canadian province, a city in India, and Washington, D.C. (you guys’ll love that one when you see it) :wink:


** UPDATE **

We finished building the official RCF website! Thank you all so much for participating in this first mission and making it such as success. We loved this project so much that we decided to continue doing it every month going forward :slight_smile: We hope you’ll join us!

Please take a minute to check it out today, and feel free to share the site around now that everything’s public!

Official Site: www.RockstarCommunityFund.org
GivingCards Mission #1 Highlights: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/giving-cards/mission-1/
List of Projects: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/projects/
Total Given: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/total/
Ways to Support the Projects: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/get-involved/

And just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s January’s #GivingCards mission!

Take one of these $20 VISA cards and give an unexpected gift to someone in your community!
Take one of these $20 VISA cards and give an unexpected gift to someone in your community!
The Rockstar Community Fund Website Is Now Live!
Take one of these $20 VISA cards and give an unexpected gift to someone in your community!
We have $500 to DO GOOD this month! How should we use it?
Take one of these $20 VISA cards and give an unexpected gift to someone in your community!

Soooo…I gave away a $20 Visa card today!!!

I am participating in the Adopt-a-Youth holiday giving program at the Iowa Homeless Youth Center and I had to deliver my donation today, I thought it may be a good opportunity to find a random stranger to give the $20 Community Fund money to. Since I haven’t received the Visa card in the mail yet, I just purchased one of my own.

I can’t even describe to you guys the AWESOME feeling of giving away that $20 today! Here’s how it went…I dropped off my donation and then explained to the nice fellow at the front desk of the Youth Center that I had another $20 to give away and asked if he could point me in the right direction.

There were a group of young adults (18-22) sitting in the lobby. He called out to one of them to come over…she hesitated slightly, but came over to talk to me. I told her I had $20 for her and her face changed instantly…you could see relief, but mostly pure joy! :slight_smile:

And, her name is Amanda! (For those of you who don’t know, that’s my name) She agreed to take a picture and allow me to share it with you all.

I expected this to feel good, but I’ve been riding a high ever since this happened 3 hours ago. I know she could use it and maybe we all helped her out a little, but the look on her face was enough for me.

I was going to reimburse myself with the visa card from the Community Fund after it came in the mail but, after today, I know I will give that one away too.

Update: Here’s the post! http://centsiblyrich.com/rockstar-community-fund-unexpected-gift/

Take one of these $20 VISA cards and give an unexpected gift to someone in your community!

Whenever I work with large communities on philanthropic giving projects, I always talk about that moment when people move from the extrinsic value of giving (I’m doing it because this group of people is) to the intrinsic value of giving (I’m doing it because I feel the difference it makes in me).

I have a feeling you were already there before this project came along, but your story is a perfect example. :slight_smile:

Love seeing the person you were able to help, and honored that you joined us on our very first mission!


I love you so much, @CentsiblyRich!


Yay @CentsiblyRich - first in with their story! Isn’t it awesome how great it makes you feel to give!? It really is better to give than receive!

I’m happy that two Amanda’s were able to smile today!


My co-worker and friend is someone who gives until it hurts, donates her time and money to a good cause, and buys things from other people’s children’s fundraisers even though her kids are grown and she doesn’t need anything. I don’t even do that and I have kids!

We jump-started her car battery one night after work, and I picked her up for work the next day from the car place. She was getting her battery replaced. I knew I was getting the $20 card, so I thought of applying that toward her bill. Then, an even bigger idea occurred to me: I would pay her whole bill. I called the car place with my card number and asked them to keep it anonymous…tell her “Merry Christmas” when she went to pay the bill. I would never have done that without this card prompting me to think about giving to someone else.

Thank you! :slight_smile:


Wow, paying for the whole battery replacement is a big deal . . . I’ve had to take my car in a few times this year, and I don’t even know how dumbfounding it would feel to have them say “Merry Christmas, the bill’s been taken care of.”

Thank you for giving a meaningful gift in a secret way, and thank you for sharing the story with us!


YES!!! This is awesome!! And exactly why this project is so much more than “just $20” - it opens up your mind (and heart) to do so much more! Kinda like a “spark” of goodness, and you never know how it’ll flow out!

This totally made my night, thank you :slight_smile:


I spent my $20 before it arrived. Blew it all on beer. Story in Sunday Best below the featured links.


Hey Doc, just read your Sunday Best. Cool approach - free $5 beer for the next 4 orders. Creative. Also love that you set up automatic gift giving to RSFF going forward. This is fun!


I thought long and hard about how to share the $20 giving card. I really wanted to reach more than one person. So after a few days of deliberation I landed on my action plan. I own a children’s consignment boutique so I decided to hide a stuffed bunny in the store on four different days to be found by a lucky winner.

Here’s my post on Facebook: "Do you need just a little something more to give for Christmas? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there will be a single bunny each day hidden in the store for a lucky customer to find. Whoever finds him will get a free $5 (and keep the bunny). Feel free to keep the $5, buy a gift for someone, buy a gift for yourself, give forward or anything you’d like. The money was given by Rockstar Finance through their Community Fund. Merry Christmas!


Today is the first day. I look forward to making someone’s day brighter.


@J.Money This is the one I was telling you about, where it’s expanded into a store context and used to benefit even more people. Very smart and cute!


@PoF, I just checked out the summary on your site:

My $20 from the Rockstar Community Fund made a handful of patrons a little bit happier on a Friday afternoon in the form of free beer.

When I went in to collect my hoppy gift of a freebie with the rewards app, I dropped $5 in the tip jar, gave the bartender a $20 bill, and asked him to give one free $5 beer to the next four customers. He thought that was pretty awesome, as did the next person that approached the register.

I was hoping to see a few more surprised and happy faces, but apparently I was among a very small minority of people that thought it cool to visit the brewery on a zero degree day at 1:30 p.m.

So that’s my free beer story. The bartender thanked me again on the way out, and a few more thirsty souls got to enjoy some free beer to start their weekend right. I’ve since subscribed to give to the Rockstar Community Fund monthly, so that others can experience the joy of blowing someone else’s money on whatever they might consider to be a good deed.

This is the most surprising one to me so far, because it’s definitely thinking outside the (charity/philanthropy) box, and is much more focused on just DOING GOOD and bringing a smile to people’s faces . . . I like it! And I love that you’re happy to contribute to the fund to help other people go out into the world and make a positive impact in any way that’s meaningful to them :slight_smile:

Thank you!


Haha… I had nooooo idea where that was going :slight_smile: Thanks for spreading the word!!!

@TinyTikesCorner - Soooo creative, wow!!! Seriously… everyone here has had such drastically different ideas so far - this is so fun to watch… Thanks for taking the time to participate!


So sweet, @E11e! I wish I could see her face when she went to pick up the car. You must feel amazing right now!! :slight_smile:


Let us know what happens!! Gosh, I need to be a fly on the wall of all these awesome interactions…


I received my Visa card and gave it away yesterday. As soon as I saw the post, I knew what I was going to do with the card.

There is a woman I know who financially has trouble keeping a roof over her head. Despite the fact that she is unable to stand for no more than short amounts of time and has difficulty walking she refuses to apply for disability and works part time to pay her bills.

I often will buy an extra grocery or two when I’m shopping for myself but she doesn’t like taking money. She loves animals and helps out in a shelter whenever she is physically able to do so. I planned to give her a gift card for herself for the Holidays and when I saw this generous offer to pay it forward, I added the Visa card telling her to spend it on whatever she thinks the shelter needs. She was thrilled to receive it, and I was even more thrilled to give it. I told her it was the result of the generosity of J$ and his wonderful team who truly understand the value of money and the spirit of giving.

As a side note, I’m probably older than your average reader and will retire next year. I can tell you that I have followed the same basic principles you all do since I started working 40 years ago and it does work. Time and compounding and knowing that you need to treat yourself along the way will work its magic. And, like me, you don’t need to earn a fortune to do it.

One caveat. – I could have retired this year and maybe even a year ago but the cost of healthcare kept me from doing so. Unless you can retire with a nice pension and healthcare benefits, I would caution everyone to watch out for escalating healthcare costs and overestimate them in your projections. The cost of insurance has skyrocketed past the rough estimates I made years ago. And as one gets older, even if your health is fairly good, I find I’m making more trips to various doctors and require more medications each year (I don’t have any serious medical condition and I’m in my 60s) and insurance doesn’t cover everything. Co-pays add up.

Best of luck to all and happy holidays! Paul M


Today I gave my $20 gift card to a mom of 5 at the nursing college where I work. She is a student. We have developed a friendship of sorts over the last few months, and she’s graduating soon. I didn’t take a picture for the sake of her anonymity, but she gave me a hug. It felt sooooo good!!!


Long story short, gave some diapers to a new mom who might not have the money to afford them easily.

Long story here: http://femmefrugality.com/rockstar-community-fund-diapers-new-moms/ :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for doing this, Nate and J! Very cool project and I’m excited to go read the other stories now.


I decided to combine my RCF #GivingCard monthly mission with @DerekOlsen’s weekly challenge, and kill two birds with one stone :wink:

(here’s the challenge, for reference: This week’s money challenge: Thank the forgotten)

I decided to use my $20 to give an unexpected gift and a smile to Diane, my mail carrier. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly four years, and have always had great interactions with her. I didn’t even know that people giving gifts to their mail carrier was a thing until last year, and needless to say, I’ve never actually done it.

I come from a baking family, and I know how to make some killer chocolate chip cookies from scratch (you put the love in there, that’s the secret ingredient). But I haven’t baked in probably six months, and I had no ingredients. So I used my Giving Card to buy the eggs, butter, baking soda, salt, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla to whip up a batch of cookies to leave in my mailbox as a gift.

Here’s what it looked like:

Hopefully when she opens up my mailbox, seeing this inside rather than another stack of work to do will put a big smile on her face . . . especially since it’s been well below zero here for the past week, with -20 to -30 wind chills, and her job can be brutal.

I’ll let you know if I receive a response of any kind, though I don’t need or expect one.

This week's money challenge: Thank the forgotten