Mission #1: An Unexpected Gift (December 2016)

RCF Giving Cards

Total #GivingCards Sent Out: 50
Total Financial GOOD Done From Cards: $1,735 and rising!
See All Stories Shared This Month: RCF Forum: An Unexpected Gift
Other Project Results This Month: Jump to bottom of page

Mission #1 Featured Stories:
We really had no idea what to expect this month – we just had what we thought was a cool idea, and hoped that the community would think so too and jump on board with us. And you guys did not disappoint – in fact, so many people gave above and beyond the $20 we provided that we almost doubled our money!

Our very first RCF month ever saw the #GivingCards travel to half the states in the Union (including the White House, how cool is that?), one Canadian province, and even halfway around the world to India! Not bad for our first attempt, right? We’re excited to see how this project continues to grow every month from here on out :)

And to kick off the highlights, we’re going to start off with our very first giver (AND our very first monthly subscriber), Amanda:

From: Amanda @ Centsibly Rich
Blog Post: An Unexpected Gift: The Rockstar Community Fund On a Mission to Do Good

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.

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By far the most interesting (not to mention ambitious) gift came from our boy IceBear, who managed to get them into the White House without getting arrested, haha…

From: IceBear
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

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!



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We also saw a totally unexpected and completely heartwarming handmade gift from Kyval:

From: Kyval
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

Today I gave the gift I made using the rockstar gift card. A woman I met a little while ago just lost her significant other of 25 years to a very unexpected car accident. I went and bought stuffing and thread and everything needed to take several of his work shirts that he wore everyday, and create a body pillow. It’s been a little over a month since his passing and I know she misses him dearly. Now she can hold on to a piece of him every night. Your gift, my gift, our gift, made her night’s a little bit more bearable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that for her. She deserves it.

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The best example of extra GOOD done came from our friend Sarah (from the Love Drop days!), who used her Facebook network to turn her $20 into over $300 for middle-school kids!

From: Sarah @ This Mom’s Wired
Blog Post: Because my heart needed a bit of help this Christmas

I am reeling today, you guys.

And every time I think of what happened, I get this feeling that takes over… this feeling that tells me that no matter how I’ve felt lately, no matter what kind of fear I have about the world or what’s ahead, if we all can just remember to do kind things in small ways we will make big impact.

It started with a gift card.

I reached out to our local school food services department. I didn’t have a lot of money, I told them, but… if I wanted to pay it forward, pay down some students’ negative lunch balance, would that be possible? The head of Food Services wrote back almost immediately – yes, yes it would. So, next, I emailed some friends. I had my $20 #GivingCard, and I could certainly chip in some of my own cash – but… what if I wanted to do more?

Immediately, a friend emailed back with an offer for a donation. Then my sister forwarded the email around her office. Now, we were getting somewhere.

Donations streamed in. Friends in other states donated – something that I had never in a million years pictured happening. My daughter even chipped in a few dollars of her own money.

This morning, with all of our donations tucked into an envelope, my daughters and I went to drop off the donations. Our $20 gift card had grown to $330!

Another hour later, the program manager shared with me that our $330 donation cleared up every negative lunch balance for the middleschool. The Food Services team coordinated with the counseling office to determine the greatest need for funds, and the balance of our donations went to fund the lunch accounts for six students with an extenuating financial need.

All told, we helped 43 families with our donation.

I still can’t even believe it.

As for me, this reinforces what I already knew: this is the kind of work I am meant to be doing. I feel so fulfilled by knowing that through the work we did, so many families were helped. Every donation that came in felt like its own little Christmas morning to me. I haven’t felt this satisfied by any thing I’ve done in a long time.

I’m ridiculously happy.

It started with a gift card. Just twenty bucks. I’m so grateful to Nate and J for allowing me to be a part of this project. I’m grateful for the opportunity, through the Rockstar Community Fund, to find new ways to make an impact on the world.

I swore that I was going to try to put more positivity in the world, and I tell ya, I’m not always good about doing that… but today we did.

We did it.

High five, people. We just might be okay after all.

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One of our members got her kids involved in the giving – check it out:

From: Elle
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

Thanks so much for jump-starting this!

We received our card and decided to get our girls(5 and almost 2) involved.

So many wonderful people to share, but we decided to give our gift card to an extraordinary educator and all around giver.

Ms. Bradley is one of the reading specialists, but her work goes far beyond that role. She’s is EVERYWHERE, every school event, updating the website, a part of PTA, and she mentors a group of young girls.

And she recently made a leap into becoming an author and of course her kids are her focus. She wrote Brave Bradley to help students deal with bullies.

We caught her during mid-year award ceremony and were delighted to give her the card. She was thrilled and wanted to pass on her thanks!

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More love for kids from someone who owns her own kids’ consignment boutique…

From: Tiny Tikes Corner
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

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”!

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One more small gift from kids (my own!), because it’s so important to get them involved early in stuff like this, to see just how much of an impact even they can make in this world…

From: Nate
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

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!

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And finally (for this highlight page, at least), check out what one of our members did for a Syrian refugee family being resettled in Lincoln, Nebraska. Love love love this one!

From: askallea
Forum Post: RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift

I really hopped on the opportunity to snag one of these gift cards — I had one place I knew I wanted to reach out to and see what they needed. I live in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we’re a hub for refugee resettlement — so many cultures and families find themselves here!

A new Syrian refugee family is moving here TOMORROW (Friday). My friend is on a Refugee Resettlement team, and she’s been planning their arrival for a couple months. They’ve found a house for them to move into, furniture to furnish the home, supplies to get them started — the works. I reached out to her to ask if there was anything the new family would need (I was thinking boring things like toilet paper and whatnot haha), but she texted back immediately:

“That is so awesome, thank you!!! A wooden mortar and pestle would be so great.”

Boom. Specific need being = soon to be met.

I ordered one on Amazon, it arrived two days later and I got to drop off the mortar and pestle at their NEW HOME last night!

Here’s the gift + a welcome sign in their own language. This home will be occupied in less than 24 hours. I’m so excited!

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Other Project Results This Month


  • #DebtDrop – We surprised someone experiencing depression from debt with a gift of $100 to help pay down some of it and offer up hope for the day
  • Emergency Fund – We contributed $100 to Athena’s fundraising campaign to help her kick cancer’s ass

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Favorite Quotes This Month


“It is addictive! I donate and volunteer for various non-profits, but giving on a personal level feels different. It all feels good, but seeing another person’s face light up like that is priceless.” – Amanda

“I’m crying at my desk. 43 families helped. Man. It’s been a rough year, and things like this make me feel like everything just might be okay after all.” – Sarah

“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 . . . 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” – Taylor

“He was almost done with the work when I thought of the card in my pocket. I pulled it out and my wife instantly agreed that this was the correct recipient. I gave him the card and explained that I was part of a group of people looking for those to whom we could bestow a gift. He almost cried and his only response was “I needed this.” So here’s to Henry, from somewhere in Mississippi, who may feel like he received a lovely gift, when I know it was really me who was blessed.” – Steve

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Well Done, Everyone!

We’d like to thank you all so very much for joining us in this first month of giving, and remind you that you can check out a ton more stories and conversations shared during December here in the forum: RCF Forum: December 2016

And of course if you’d like to join us in making this project more amazing every month, we have a few different ways you can get involved: Give Back With Us

See you next month!

– Nate & J. Money