RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift


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:


I think it’s our first entrepreneur day-brightening gift? And, lest people think that entrepreneurs have things pretty good and don’t need a little help, people like us know better, haha - well done!


I’m actually surprised it took this long to hit dogs and cats, heh - good use of the #GivingCard, and come back next month too!


We LOVE it when families and kids get involved - I think it’s one of the best gifts we can give our kids - showing them the transformative power of giving (both for the recipient and the giver). And setting aside a monthly giving fund for 2017 . . . awesome! Thank you so much for participating and sharing - come back next month too :slight_smile:


Yes, yes, yes x100! This makes me so happy to hear, @Taylor. I’ve been exactly where you are/were, and the act of being intentional with our time and effort and giving, even just in little nudges, like with these #GivingCards, can have such a huge impact not only on the people around us who we choose to help, but, more importantly, on who WE are (and who we want to become).

So glad you chose to hang out with us this month, and I hope you keep doing it with us in 2017 :slight_smile:


One of my former co-workers decided to adopt a refugee family this year. Her goal was to raise $8000 to provide rent, utilities, and living expenses for a family in their first few months in America as they are trying to learn English, find work, and settle into their new home. I honestly didn’t think she’d be able to do it. It was a tall order. But a week in I was thrilled to get an email from her saying she had surpassed her goal!

I decided to give my card to the adopted family. But there were strings attached. Having been on the receiving end of so much generosity, I thought it would be nice for them to be on the giving end. I was hoping it could be empowering for them at at time when everything else feels so unsettled and out of control.


I think this one’s a great choice, and I love that you took the time to write a handwritten note along with the gift. Reminds me of the GiveForward days, man. Such a great effort we all got to make together, and so much good done. I’m glad you and @IceBear were able to jump in with us on our first time out with this new project. We’ll be doing it every month in 2017 - I’m sure we’ll all see each other again :wink:


Hey - I’m in the dog house too!! I have one project I am working on tonight (:wink: @Vicki) but the other I completed this morning by donating in RSF’s name to Alive Rescue’s CRISP program. Chicagoland Rescue Intervention and Support Program (CRISP). CRISP is a new initiative that will pool the resources of eight local rescues to work in concert with Chicago Animal Care and Control to provide assistance and support for pet owners in need, divert owner surrendered animals to accredited rescues, and ultimately reduce the number of dogs surrendered at Chicago Animal Care and Control.

My Bubs came from a shelter. When I adopted her it was not her first, but second time being adopted. The first adopter returned her after two weeks for reasons I still don’t know! She is the sweetest dog ever and I cant imagine my life without her. With that in mind, here is the story that got me to donate…

"On Christmas Eve CRISP was working our shelter diversion program at Chicago Animl Care & Control. When Michael came up to our table for owner surrenders, holding his tiny grey and white puppy, we asked what we always ask first. "What can we do to help you keep your dog?"
Michael explained that he just got Zoey and he had scheduled a vet appointment for her next week. But, just 48 hours after taking his new friend home, she got sick. The quote to treat Zoey for parvo was way more than he could afford. He brought her to the shelter not to “dump” her, but because he thougt the shelter could treat her, and then give her the home she deserves.

When we offered to help Michael keep Zoey by paying for her treatment, he started crying. Then we started crying. Keeping a family together on Christmas Eve is what we are all about. "

Meet Zoey…

Zoey is on the mend and will be returned soon to her new family after a week and very substantial costs…$2500!! I am happy our gift could help to offset some of the cost and also keep the program running. :slight_smile:

That is all for my Sarah McLachlan moment! You may now return to your regularly scheduled program. :wink: