Giving away my last dollar

A message from OTEF Chair Joan Koerber-Walker

I am now officially ready for Christmas.  Yesterday I gave away my last dollar.

Before you start rallying the troops to come to my aid, I am not going hungry this Christmas.  And hopefully someone else won’t either.

You see each year when I start planning for Christmas, I get a bunch of dollars.  In my purse is an envelope with the list of gifts I need to get for family and friends and I stash my dollars there too.  Then as I go along my merry way between Thanksgiving and Christmas, doing the shopping and other holiday chores, I can stop to say “Thank You” to a bell ringer and put a dollar in the kettle.  There is no IRS receipt or silent auction glitter, just a moment of conversation and a smile from someone who was willing to stand outside for hours ringing a bell to remind us that this is the season of giving and that it feels good to do something special for others.

Of course, the holiday season does not have an exclusive on giving.  Helping others is needed the whole year through.  A great example is Carlo Garcia in Chicago who has made it his mission to give 365 days a year.  He’s not a millionaire philanthropist like Buffet or Gates. He’s just a regular guy that gave up his daily Starbucks run and now puts that money to a better use.  You can see his story here:

‘You don’t have to be rich and famous to make a little bit of good,’  ~ Carlo Garcia (

Another way we can  make a difference is by giving of our time and talents.  I get to see this every year first hand as a a small committed group of entrepreneurs and friends work for months to put together the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference (AZEC) the key fund raiser for the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation. Like Christmas, it takes lots of work and planning and then is over in one day, but what a day it is.  I am always inspired by how the OTEF Team plus our wonderful speakers and volunteers share their talents so that our entrepreneurial community can engage and connect and so OTEF can raise the funds needed to help at risk populations (you know the folks that REALLY need help) find a path to economic self sufficiency through entrepreneurship.

So this year let’s make it a year of giving whether it’s our time, our talent, or our dollars and  if you are thinking about starting a new Christmas tradition at your house, you might want to get your own envelope of dollars next year.  It’s a wonderful sign that Christmas is here and a great feeling when the envelope is empty and you have given away your last dollar.

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits, as well as into community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   She’s also a wife, a mother, and the Chairman  of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  You can contact her by clicking here.

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