Our Past, The Present and a Brighter Future…
Standing on this stage in 1997, holding my newly earned degrees in Accounting and Finance, I committed to helping families gain simple and effective money skills that would allow them to take charge of their financial destiny and achieve their life dreams.
Having lived my life as a military brat, becoming a suddenly unemployed young wife and mother, I knew how it felt to never have enough and to worry about the future for our girls. I recognized that look of hopelessness and despair in others, and knew I could now make a difference.
After leaving nearly two decades of professional accounting and finance work, Dollars and Good Sense “took to the streets” to help men and women in local communities, through agencies like Compassion, YWCA, local libraries and churches. It was so rewarding to see students get “aha” moments and realize they COULD change their money habits, mindset AND their bank accounts.
Adventures in Puppetopia, Stargate to Laughter and Learning
After several months of research, effort and planning in 2016, Ruby’s Troupe “grew up” and was officially organized as a Washington State Social Purpose Corporation, so children all over the country (and possibly the world) could easily enjoy the magic, the laughter and the fun learning that is at the heart of Ruby, all her puppet friends, and their loving caretakers, Phyllis, Debbie, Bob and Doug.
These zany and fun character shows share super-cool topics like
- Paying Attention and Focus
- Being a Good Friend
- Obeying or Disobeying
- Pet Care
- Not playing with Fire
- Friendship over Fear
and then…Smart Money Commanders programs are born!
While Adventures was being finalized, six dynamic and engaging interactive theater “children’s money shows” were also developed, and “Smart Money Commander”s became a beautiful and transformative reality!
Adventures in Puppetopia – Stargate to Laughter and Learning was released in the Spring of 2017…along with all kinds of new activities and learning fun! Smart Money Commanders became part of the Dollars and Good Sense program for adults – creating the “whole family” learning program.
The children’s program development and growth is one of the highlights of our foundation’s mission – after all, tomorrow’s philanthropists and world-changers are sitting in booster seats today!
- 2019 - We Built It - and They Came!
- 2020-2021 Our Big COVID Shift
- 2022 and Beyond - Empowering the World
After Smart Money Commanders was developed, we were eager to bring the “whole family” approach to fun money education to life. It took about six months of planning and coordination with local businesses, community groups and volunteers, but Dollars and Good Sense – Family Fun Money Games became a reality in October 2019 in Kalama, WA.
Fun activities, lively and safe discussions and dedicated mentors covered savings, spending, budgets, how to improve your credit, solutions and resources when financial chaos strikes, talking with your kids, aging parents, retirement, wills and more… just dipping our toes into the “money water” of these vital topics.
After the live event portion, families then enrolled in “Foundations”, an eight week private follow up forum where we went a littler deeper in each of the money subjects covered during the live event overview. Families then remained in the forum and participated in office hours, could ask questions and had ongoing access to our dedicated and caring team of experts and mentors for a full year.
We were thrilled that four families were able to successfully purchase their first home within six months of completing the “Foundations” program… AND, hearing those darling little ones sing “The Frugal Song” over and over to their parents – well, that was PRICELESS!
The entire team was thrilled and eagerly began planning for our next live course offering for Spring 2020…after the holidays and snowy season was over.
As the world watched in amazement and fear, everything turned upside down in the first few months of 2020 as the COVID-19 virus spread quickly from country to country. Lock downs, social distancing protocols and shuttering most, if not all, live events came to an abrupt halt while everyone grappled with the growing and deadly global pandemic that would linger for two years.
During this time, we remained resolute in our mission to reach 1 million families with fun money education – as the effects of the pandemic clearly showed just how precarious so many families’ finances were. But what could we do?
Dollars and Good Sense – Family Fun Money Games became better, stronger and more accessible through the lengthy but valuable process of digitizing our entire course curriculum – that meant 185 micro-lessons were recorded, edited and preserved in a state-of-the-art online learning management system.
Yes, it was a lot of work…BUT now families can access smart and fun money learning anywhere, anytime, no matter what is going on in your neighborhood or across the globe.
Our 501c3 as a Global Non-Profit
In order to meet our goal of transforming the lives of 1 million families, we realized that we needed to become a publicly supported non-profit. While many team members were designing, recording and editing program videos for the cloud, others took on the task of merging Dollars and Good Sense and Smart Money Commanders into Dollars and Good Sense Foundation – and we received our tax exempt status in October 2020. Now supporters can make a tax-deductible donation, support a family, become a Community Champion (businesses) AND, if your employer does matching donations – you can DOUBLE your impact.
But wait, there’s more…
In September 2021, we connected with two amazing teen financial literacy programs, Seedlyng Financial Literacy out of the great state of Texas, and the hoppin’ FYI-FLI podcast from the sunny state of Florida! After several months of discussions, we formally teamed our efforts in April 2022. Teens now have their very own program that provides real-time money smarts – all while having fun!
You can learn more about our program here. https://dollarsandgoodsense.org/the-program/
Mid-year 2022, the Board of our Foundation felt comfortable organizing and leading another whole family money wellness event and learning group. We partnered with Youth and Family Link, in Longview, WA and Dollars and Good Sense – Family Fun Money Games will help 50 families (approximately 275 “tall kids” and “small kids”) start their money wellness adventure on October 7 and 8, 2022.
As with our earlier program events, this is totally free to the families in need, as the community and local grants are being secured to cover the costs of the venue, the food, materials and follow up costs for the yearly program.
400 invitations were distributed at a local community back-pack giveaway in August. It was amazing to talk with so many parents and grandparents – the kids were thrilled with the Smart Money Commander videos playing in the background.
To see the look of hope in their eyes when we explained how the program works and what support they will have access to (now they have to do the work…) it made the last two years of waiting, recording and planning worth it.
Information about the Longview Workshop and Foundations Learning can be found here. https://dollarsandgoodsense.org/events/