Home > 2014 > Personal Finance

How a Good Deed Could Earn You $30,000

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

What would you do if you were told you were being given $30,000 out of the blue by an anonymous donor? You’d probably think exactly what Royal Nunes thought: “It’s a scam.”

“They called me while I was playing basketball and I said, ‘You are lying.’ I almost hung up the phone,” he laughs.

But the call was real, and so was the money. With the first year’s installment of $10,000 Nunes paid off student loan debt so he could return to school and continue his education. He was also able to buy a car, which allowed him to drive his nephew to school.

Nunes was the recipient of grant through a unique program called the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program. Funded by an anonymous donor, the program recognizes “individuals of unusual creativity, vision, and initiative who are quietly making the community a better place.” Each year, six individuals — who are found and nominated by volunteer “spotters,”  — are chosen to receive $30,000 no-strings-attached awards.

At the time Nunes was nominated, he said he was in a “tough financial situation.” He had previously attended Bay State College, majoring in criminal justice, but had to drop out for a semester due to the cost, and was instead enrolled in a community college. He was working at The City School, a chapter of the Boston Youth Organizing Project, where he recruits and trains youth to be active in their communities and solve the problems that might otherwise lead some of them to become involved in gangs, drugs or violence. But the pay wasn’t great, and he didn’t know if he could afford to continue working there.

On to top of that, he was helping his mother care for his nephew. And he frequently volunteered for his local capoeira group, Columbo Nova, where he often served as the “spaceholder,” the person who keeps keys and prepares the place in which work is going to be done, while creating an atmosphere of safety and a supportive culture.

According to his nominator, Nunes “meets people where they’re at and not only shows them a better way, but takes them there, step by step. Best of all, he does it with an infectious smile and joy, and with a seemingly boundless love.”

The idea behind the program is to think about philanthropy a bit differently.

“Inspiring donors to create programs like the Boston Neighborhood Fellows is a great example of the kind of high-impact philanthropy we’re most proud of,” said Jamie Jaffee, managing partner at The Philanthropic Initiative, an organization that helps corporations and foundations maximize the impact of their giving, and which helped create this program.

“When the anonymous donor of the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program started working with us 24 years ago, we knew it was important for us to gain a clear understanding of our client’s motivations, values and goals,” she says. That donor wanted to move beyond ordinary grant-making so, in partnership, we designed an innovative program that recognizes exceptional individuals who are quietly making their communities a better place. The Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program has had tremendous impact on the lives of its recipients, and also reminds others that hope and possibility exist, even in difficult times.”

As for Nunes, he continues to juggle his busy schedule of school, work, family and volunteer activities. “One of my biggest fears was not to be able to continue the work I love. There is not a lot of pay in doing community work (but) it’s work that is needed and it’s valuable. I was in a situation where I was forced to choose between helping out my family and help my community — my extended family.”

Now, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, he doesn’t have to give any of it up.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team