Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turning Pennies Into Thousands at UI (Univ. of Idaho)


"There is a unique scholarship program at the University of Idaho called the found money fund.

It is just how it sounds -- a fund of money that people have found.

It all started back in the 1970s with a penny-pinching professor.

“I found three pennies on the way to school the third day of January 1981," said Terry Armstrong, a professor at the University of Idaho. "I put my three pennies in there and said, 'how much money can I find this year?' I was in the president's office then, and the press secretary found a nickel. She said, 'I’ll put my nickel in with your pennies. We'll have a party at the end of the year.'"

By the end of that year, Armstrong and his co-worker had saved $11. They decided it wouldn't be a very big party with just $11, so they donated it to the university.

What started out as a joke turned into a real fundraiser, with money being donated from all over the world, mostly from alumni.

"On a serious note, I have taught here for 44 years," said Armstrong. "You never have money to do the kinds of things you need to do."

By the end of October, the money fund had $284,238.06 in it."

See what found money can turn into? Nothing this huge, but still--on a personal level, it counts. Read The Tipping Point, or The Art of the Snowball and The Change Game.

When you find a penny on the pavement, you've actually found a dollar (provided you have the other .99 in the house). If you don't have the other .99, keep picking up those pennies until you do. When I lived in an apartment complex, I'd find money in the parking lot every day--pennies, nickels, dimes, a few quarters, and once a $20 bill in my front courtyard. Whenever I used the laundry room, invariably there'd be money in the lint traps of the dryers--sometimes coins, sometimes $1 bills. Keep your eyes open--money is money, and its all spendable!

That was one of the few times in my life when I actually enjoyed doing laundry.


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