A Generosity Dinner: Meet Tristan Pringle

When we visited our home in South Africa in January this year, my wife Valerie and I hosted what we at Common Change refer to as a ‘Generosity Dinner’. You invite some friends over for a meal and each person donates some money into a common pool and then as a group you decide what needs [of people you know and care about] you will meet with that money as a gift to those people. Tristan Pringle attended the Dinner we ran and was inspired by it so much that he decided to host his own. I asked him to share the story of how that went: A while back a few of us felt compelled to create or be part of a platform where we were able to have gospel charged robust conversations about Justice. We formed an informal group of people committed to get together every few months and chat about social justice; we called it ‘Jesus Justice Us’. Our aim is to empower each other to talk about Justice and actively seek for an outlet for the things we learn. We are compelled by love, fueled by the Gospel, and we have Jesus as our main example. My friend Chido and I spent hours talking about what to do with the group and what Jesus meant...

Read More


Gathered vs Hidden Cash

          Everyone loves the thrill of walking along and seeing a 5 dollar bill on the ground with no-one nearby who could have obviously dropped it. Now imagine that $5 was $200 and instead of randomly on the ground it was placed in an envelope and you had been given a clue of a location and a photograph of where you might find it. You and 440 000 others. That’s right! In just two weeks, what began as a fun quirky tale on Twitter with a handful of followers has become a little bit of a media phenomenon [especially in SF where it’s been happening] and a rapidly exploding Twitter account. An anonymous millionaire [apparently] decided that it would be fun to start propogating random acts of kindness and started hiding money in envelopes and leaving clues under the Twitter handle of @HiddenCash. And it has grown and grown and grown, launching a trip to L.A. this last weekend and a bunch of copycat accounts all over the world of other people trying to do similiar things. In L.A. @HiddenCash filled 36 Angry Birds with cash and buried them on a beach and then tweeted the location of the beach the next day… It has definitely caught the attention of many and has been a...

Read More


How to be poor with a lot

One phenomenon of the modern economy is affluence that doesn’t feel like it. You work, earn and spend quite a lot, yet it seems you’re getting nowhere. That opening paragraph begins the interesting article I read recently titled ‘The ‘Wealthy Poor’ replace the Middle Class’ …spending every dollar of regular income — even if it’s a high income — can leave affluent families as vulnerable to an economic shock as those who have no wealth at all. The problem comes when a major portion of net worth is tied up in illiquid assets such as homes, cars and other such items that can’t be translated easily into cash when necessary. [As an aside, this last paragraph describes where the non-profit Common Change has been seen to work so brilliantly. Many families are living close to the line and it can just take one unexpected happening, such as a car crash, appendix operation or pregnancy to be the thing that pushes them over the line.  As someone who is part of a Common Change group, that would make a perfect need to share with the group and save that person or family from crashing over the edge] While debt-inducing expenses such as tuition and mortgage payments may be easier to justify that some others, for many people who find themselves in...

Read More


What if this Sharing thing takes off internationally?

As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media and public, a valuable debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction.  So begins this article titled, From Sharing Cities to a Sharing World which poses some interesting and necessary discussion beginning with the conclusion that the old idea of the American dream is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. The video referenced by the article, titled ‘The High Price of Materialism’ is worth taking 5 minutes on. I especially appreciated the bigger picture look at intrinsic values it gives towards the end – we are trying to grow and introduce good and healthy habits instead of just railing against or trying to minimise the bad: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGab38pKscw] I really love the phrase that seems to have become a bit of an anthem for the movement: ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials. As this article manages to highlight a number of the exciting possibilities of taking the sharing economy across traditional borders, it does also mention and highlight some of the more obvious pitfalls and concernes. This is clearly not going to...

Read More


Show me the [pope’s] money!

Some of you may have already seen this article titled ‘I knew Pope Francis was good, but when I found out everything he did in 2012 I was blown away’ which lists 19 aspects of Pope Francis’ 2013 and some of the impressive things he did [especially perhaps, when viewed through the lens of previous popes]. What was interesting to us at Two Cents was that four of the 19 dealt directly with money-related  ideas and acts: 1. He spoke out against frivolous spending of the church 9. He auctioned his motorcycle to benefit the homeless 11. He condemned the global financial system. 14. He redirected employees bonuses to charity. And three of them a little more indirectly, but conservation and the homeless are both very finance-related areas: 6. He urged the protection of the Amazon Rainforest  8. He snuck out of the Vatican to feed the homeless 18. He invited homeless men to his birthday meal All of this showing quite a strong emphasis on the ongoing intersection that seems to take place between FAITH and FINANCES. Jesus Himself often made specific references to the kingdom of God and the lure of money, reminding us that it would be an area where we would regularly have to make a choice and that it was not possible to reach for both, or worship both...

Read More