An Unexpected Gift: The Rockstar Community Fund On a Mission to Do Good

an unexpected giftWhen you think about personal finance, the first thing you think of is money. And you may think personal finance bloggers focus solely on money – how to make it, save it, spend it and invest it.

While this is true to a certain extent, for most bloggers, the issue goes far beyond money just for the sake of having more money. Most of them view money as a tool for life – for freedom, security and time. Even more, many see money as a tool to help others.

For all of these reasons, personal finance bloggers are my kind of people. More than anything, they are the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met.

I have proof.

Physician on Fire recently shared that he has over $100,000 in a Vanguard Charitable donor advised fund “destined for charity”. Ms. Montana of Montana Money Adventures has generously given from her designated Giving Fund and shares how to get started on one yourself.

Matt from Optimize Your Life recently wrote about how You Have More Money Than You Think and, “It’s time we looked around, saw how lucky we are, and started working to pull others up with us.”

Ms. ONL from Our Next Life, encourages us to Go Beyond Gratitude, stating, “Any of us who are even in a position to ponder the possibility of financial independence are already far luckier than most people walking this planet with us. We have more economic power than most, and with that power comes the responsibility to help, however we can.”

The Rockstar Community Fund

Recently, J. Money from Budgets are Sexy announced he was starting the Rockstar Community Fund. From the moment he announced it in this post, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

A couple of weeks ago, Nate and J. Money announced on the Rockstar Forums they had some cash to start the Community Fund. They asked for suggestions on how to best distribute it to do the most good.

Not only were there so many great ideas for so many great causes, a few bloggers* even offered up some additional money of their own to help out. In the end, they had $1000 to give away.

With so many great ideas, they decided the absolute best way to spread the kindness was to give away fifty $20 Visa cards to be handed out as unexpected gifts to people in our respective communities (this wasn’t just limited to bloggers!). The only thing they asked of those who received a $20 card was to share in the forums the stories of how they distributed the $20.

An Unexpected Gift

To tell the truth, I thought I would have a great opportunity to do something awesome with the money before I received my $20 card in the mail from the Community Fund. So, I purchased my own $20 Visa card.

On December 15, I had to deliver my gift for the Adopt-a-Youth Holiday Giving program at a local homeless youth center**.

I knew they didn’t have all the youth adopted that had holiday needs. And I knew if I didn’t find anyone to give the $20 to while I was there, I could just give it to the youth center to give to a young adult in need.

But the most incredible thing happened while I was there. I dropped off my pledged gift for the holiday program and explained to the kind man at the front desk that I had an extra $20 to give, if he knew of anyone.

Sitting right there in the lobby of the Youth Center was a group of young adults. The man called out to one of them and asked her to come over to where I was standing. (Her name is Amanda too!) She was a bit hesitant at first, but made her way over.

The moment I explained I was giving her the $20 Visa card, her face instantly changed. She gave me a huge smile and I sensed her joy (and a bit of relief). I knew she could use it and it would help her. But her reaction and her friendly smile was the best unexpected gift of all that day.

I don’t know exactly what it was, but this indescribable feeling of peace, happiness, and gratitude came over me. And I wasn’t the only one who felt it. My dad was tagging along and he felt it too (and from the response from the man at the front desk, I’m guessing he felt it as well).

I still cannot find words to describe how I felt in that moment. What I can tell you is tears come to my eyes as I type this (happy tears). What Amanda did for me that day was nothing short of life changing.

I was going to reimburse myself with the $20 Visa card I received from the RCF when it arrived, but now I want to give that one away too. I have to give that one away too. I won’t stop there, either. I am committing to give at least one unexpected gift each month (I honestly have daydreams of giving away money after this experience).

Amanda and Amanda

So, there you have it. That’s how I used my first $20. I’ll definitely let you know how I use the second $20.

I can’t wait to continue to participate in the Community Fund project to help spread the love.

Do you know how incredibly powerful this could be?

Keep an eye out for more GOOD to come out of Rockstar Community Fund! It’s going to be super HUGE and it’s going to do so much GOOD, it’ll take the world by storm! Join in! And share, share, share!

A huge THANK YOU to J. Money and Nate for giving all of us the incentive to go out and change the world in amazing ways. Hugs to you guys. You’re the best.

How would you give an unexpected gift in your community? Don’t wait for a free Visa card to fall into your lap! Go out and make someone’s day today!


*Some bloggers who contributed include (but not limited to – let me know if I missed you!):,,,, and and many others chose to use their own $20.

**This program provides education, employment, safe housing and life skills to homeless youth (ages 16-25) in my community. Why homeless youth? I have teenagers myself. And the stats speak for themselves (from Covenant House):

  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
  • In the United States, as many as 20,000 kids are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
  • According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
  • More than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
  • 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently and have limited education and no social support.
  • Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.

30 thoughts on “An Unexpected Gift: The Rockstar Community Fund On a Mission to Do Good

  1. What a great story, Amanda! Thank you for sharing and for being such a great example. If we could get this sort of attitude to spread, the world would be a much better place.

    (And thank you as well for the mention!)

    1. Thank you, Matt! I’m excited about spreading the attitude of kindness! I plan to post how I do so each month – and really hope it catches on. 🙂

      (And very happy to share your great post!)

  2. Thank you, Amanda, for this very inspiring story. Mrs. G and I are just formulating our 2017 giving strategy and we both like the idea of having a ready supply of $20 Visa gift cards to do some random good throughout the year. You got a great heart, Amanda. Merry Christmas.

    1. Thanks, Mr. G! Can’t wait to hear how you give your unexpected gifts! Merry Christmas to you both! 🙂

  3. Loved your story on the forums! I can’t believe her name was Amanda too…so random! It was it?! :). Shocking stats at the end of your post. With so many people having an abundance of stuff it is sad to see so many in need. That is why I am loving this community and how we are all pulling together to make the season a bit brighter. I can’t wait to read all the others!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Miss Mazuma! I love the pf community for it’s generosity and support. I’m looking forward to reading all the awesome stories that come out of this great project too! 🙂

  4. I’m a big fan of random acts of giving. Just wrote a post about giving today. We are trying to practice these during the holidays, but always great to perform anytime of year. We have helped a few families in need and I have purchased a Starbucks gift card and bought random strangers coffee.

    1. I think the acts of kindness are more prevalent during the holiday season, and that’s a great thing! But, you’re right, it’s great to carry them throughout the rest of the year too.

  5. What an awesome story! I’m sure Amanda is so thankful that you came along and blessed her.

    Merry Christmas!!!!

    1. Thanks, ESI! Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂

  6. The rest of the stats made sense to me, though they are sad. But this one…I wasn’t expecting it:

    “Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.”

    You can see how happy your gift made Amanda! So cool that you’ll be doing it again, too!

    1. That statistic is the one that blew my mind too!

      I want at least one of my kids to be involved with giving the second $20 away – I’m certain we’ll find the opportunity to do it over winter break. 🙂

  7. Actions speak louder than words- this is such a great way of inspiring others to be generous and I’m sure it will become addictive.


    1. That’s the great thing about it, Sarah – 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.

  8. What a great story! It truly is better to give than to receive. Pretty awesome idea…that rockstar community fund. 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…giving and being generous is very addictive.

    1. Love it, Andrew! Thanks for sharing your story – you got “the smile” too! It is such a great feeling. 🙂

  9. LOVE this story, Amanda. It really is awesome that Rockstar launched this, and that you jumped on the opportunity (even before you received the gift card in the mail!!).

    It truly is better to give than receive! Merry Christmas!!

    1. Thanks, Fritz! I can’t wait to give away the next one! Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂

  10. That is awsome. That sounds like a great organization as well. We have a homeless youth shelter here. There are SO many homeless or transient youth. Most of thier parents are addicts. Sometimes teenagers just need someone to show up and care. And you were able to do it that day. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ms. Montana! 🙂 Yes, it’s unfortunate, but so many times the homeless youth come from bad home and family situations. You know it’s pretty bad when some of them choose to live in the shelters/on the streets, rather than go home.

  11. Wowwwww – those statistics you quote are staggering – and not in a good way. You have inspired me to figure out how to help in my community (any tips?) And great job!!

    1. Agreed, staggering statistics! Glad to be of some inspiration – that’s exactly why I wanted to share this. My tips? Check out how you can join the Community Fund in spreading the love! Also, find a cause or group in your community that you would like to learn more about – check out their website, give them a call and ask what they need most! 🙂

  12. Very cool! Always love seeing people leverage $ to do good. It’s one thing that motivates me to continue working hard and building businesses. I love the idea of being able to donate towards a good cause, and regularly have $ taken out of my paycheck to do just that.

    If I had $20 I would use it to randomly bless someone at the store. I truly believe it can change someone’s entire day – if not entire week – by such a simple gesture.

    1. Totally agree, DC! I think randomly blessing someone at the store may be our next unexpected gift (I want my kids to do it, or at least be there next time). The kindness can really brighten their day (and those around them), and they may feel inspired to pay it forward themselves!

  13. This is such a great idea, Amanda! I need to get into the forums over there because I’m missing out on the good stuff. I used to give away gift cards in small dominations to people I didn’t know – waiters, busboys, waitresses, folks dining, etc but stopped. I really need to get that ball rolling again because it does bless you to bless others.

    1. Thanks, Latoya! You should definitely head over to the forums when you get the opportunity! It’s awesome that you used to give gift cards away! I love everything about giving unexpected gifts to people you don’t know (and, of course, those you do know!). Sharing goodwill and kindness is something I intend to more of in the upcoming year! 🙂

  14. Thanks for being a great example for all of us and for making the world a bit brighter through your kindness!

  15. I took part as well – I gave my $20 gift card to a nursing studen where I work with 5 kids. She gave me a big hug and it made my day.

    1. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 I love that you gave it to someone you knew could really use it. I’m sure you made her day (or week!) too!

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