At the end of 2018, the Plutus Foundation made its plans for growth in 2019, and on behalf of the Plutus Foundation team, I’m happy to write that we achieved this growth while continuing to support our mission.
That mission is to provide grants and other resources to financial influencers as they spread the message of financial capability, empowerment, literacy, and independence. We serve that mission by offering two rounds of grants throughout the year to four recipients, providing sponsorships and scholarships for events designed for financial influencers and their communities, running our programs like Plutus Voices, and using our social media initiatives to amplify the voices within the financial media.
Women are making a difference in financial literacy.
In the winter for International Women’s Day, we highlighted 44 women making a difference in their local and online communities. To communicate effectively about financial literacy and empowerment, investing, and retirement, we see the need for more complete conversations with diverse perspectives.
Our selection spurred its conversation with many responses helping to identify even more than the 44 women we initially highlighted. We’re grateful for the involvement of our community of financial influencers. Follow our Twitter list of women making a difference.
Plutus Voices brings engaging speakers to cities throughout the U.S.
Following our preview in New York City, where David Bach and Sandy Smith shared stories about how they inspire action within the audience, the Plutus Foundation brought important and eye-opening conversations to five cities throughout 2019. Plutus Voices includes a unique format designed to inspire discussion and participation from everyone who attends the events.
Video from four of the five events is available online.
For our first stop in Phoenix in April, sponsored in part by Dabble Media and hosted by Sarah Potter, our speakers touched on the need for good financial advice that connects with the audience in underserved communities. Our featured speakers were Jenniemarie Cisneros, Athena Lent, Brent Whiting, and Andrea Diaz.
Soon after the event in Phoenix, we traveled to Irvine, California for Plutus Voices Los Angeles. Hosted in a beautiful setting by Winnie Sun at Sun Group Wealth Partners, the event featured Winnie as a speaker as well as Melanie Lockert, and discussions focused on the intersection of mental health and money and how to support the most vulnerable members of your audience.
Our events returned in the fall with Plutus Voices Denver, hosted in the historic Denver Press Club. Sponsored by NEFE and Kayla Sloan, our discussion in Denver focused on financial independence and women and featured speakers Kayla Sloan and Chris Englert.
The topic of discussion in Atlanta was transparency and personal finance with speakers Jason Butler and Steven M. Hughes sharing their honest, inspirational stories, and all attendees discussing how they can effectively inspire their audiences through transparency while not sacrificing their safety and security.
In December, Plutus Voices returned to New York City, this time at The Financial Gym, thanks to our sponsor for the event, Nav. We featured Amanda Holden, Jamila Souffrant, and Kara Stevens and their stories as they relate to managing stress as entrepreneurs. The discussions with all attendees focused on techniques for reducing stress as well as recognizing how stress might prevent our audiences from putting financial advice into action.
In 2020, you can plan on more Plutus Voices events in new cities as well as some returns to our favorite locations.
The Plutus Foundation sponsors Elevate Influencer 2019.
Elevate Influencer is for financial professionals, authors, teachers, speakers and educators who are dedicated to improving the financial lives of people of color as they discuss the unique financial challenges and opportunities facing communities of color. The Plutus Foundation sponsored this year’s two-day Elevate Influencer conference in May which featured speakers including Lynette Khalfani-Cox, Tiffany Aliche, Tonya Van Court, and Gerri Detweiler.
Sandy Smith organizes Elevate Influencer, and the Plutus Foundation will be sponsoring the next Elevate Influencer conference in D.C. in 2020 as well.
The Plutus Foundation offers new grants in 2019.
We awarded four grants this year, with two in the spring and two in the fall. Each of these grants is for a maximum of $2,500, and they are intended for community-based financial literacy and empowerment projects that are designed by members of the financial media. We look for creative and successful approaches for communicating financial literacy.
These were the recipients of grants during 2019.
- Winning Play$, a behavior-based financial literacy program that helps students develop healthy attitudes and behaviors around money.
- Homes on the Hill Financial Capabilities, a HUD approved housing counseling agency that offers financial education and housing counseling services.
- Talk Money to Me, a pop up event where women and non-binary people can come together to learn financial tools and tips to help them address their specific needs.
- Dollars and Good Sense, an event in October in Washington State, bringing financial literacy to families using fun games as a way to communicate important topics about money.
For the coming year, the Plutus Foundation is planning to provide more grant opportunities to support the important work that our online community of financial writers, podcasters, and speakers is taking to their offline communities.
The Plutus Foundation sponsors Money on the Mountain.
The Plutus Foundation sponsored the Money on the Mountain retreat in Denver, just days after Plutus Voices Denver. Money on the Mountain is a retreat for financially single women.
The retreat was a weekend filled with conversations ranging from growing assets through real estate, affording travel, and making bold financial moves as a financially single woman. The next retreats are planned for 2021.
Raising awareness of financial abuse.
Financial abuse can be devastating, and in May, the Plutus Foundation addressed this topic with a series of articles.
- What you need to know about financial abuse and how you can help. Can you identify the signs of financial abuse?
- Here’s a story from someone who survived financial abuse. The writer provided this story to the foundation anonymously, and it might give you or someone you know hope and the information needed to survive.
- Elder financial exploitation and abuse is more than just scams. Chances are you’ve heard about how elderly individuals can be more susceptible to financial scams. But it’s not only shady financial companies that take advantage of the elderly. Be aware of these important resources to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Financial abuse is linked to financial infidelity. There are some differences between the two, but one might also travel alongside the other in a relationship.
Thanks to Jana Lynch for spearheading and organizing this series.
Celebrating ten years of the Plutus Awards.
The Plutus Awards celebrated its tenth anniversary at FinCon19 in Washington, D.C. Presented by Capital Group (learn more about Capital Group), the awards ceremony was the biggest and most entertaining event we’ve put together in that time, with lots of emotional surprises as we celebrated the entire community of financial bloggers, podcasters, authors, speakers, video producers, influencers, and more.
Our writers and hosts for the ceremony were Sandy Smith and Jordon Cox, and they put together a great event that showcased excellence throughout the community. The night’s winners included ChooseFI, Rich and Regular, The Financial Diet, The College Investor, Dumpster Doggy, and many more. Plus, Sandy Smith was also a winner with the Lifetime Achievement award.
We also continued the trading card tradition we began in 2018 with 15 new additions. Did you collect them all? They were found throughout the hallways of the hotel leading up to the Plutus Awards.
Following the ceremony, we closed out the night with music and drinks courtesy of the community. Thank you to everyone who made the cocktail hour a success.
Launching the Plutus Awards Showcase and Podcast.
In April, the Plutus Awards team launched the Plutus Awards Showcase, a weekly collection of the best financial articles and podcasts, curated especially for you by the team.
Later, in the weeks leading up to the Plutus Awards, we published the first episode of the Plutus Awards Podcast. In each episode, Chris Browning and the Plutus Awards team invite financial media rockstars to talk about success with blogging, podcasting, writing, speaking, and more. Their stories will inspire you.
The first season ran until the end of November and included guests such as Erin Lowry, Tiffany Aliche, Harlan Landes, Philip Taylor, Paula Pant, Jim Wang, and Bethany Bayless. The second season will premiere in early 2020, so subscribe now.
Raising more money for financial literacy than ever before.
Not including sponsorships, partnerships, and founder funding, the Plutus Foundation raised over 20 percent more than the prior year. From sponsorships and partnerships, we earned nearly a 200 percent increase compared to 2018. All money raised by fundraising goes to support the grants and programs we run and fund. The Plutus Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
It’s not too late to contribute before the year ends. The Plutus Foundation team plans to expand into new financial media projects while supporting the great financial literacy work achieved throughout the community.
Did you know? You can donate or sell your blog or other property to the Plutus Foundation. There may be tax advantages for doing so. Contact us for more information.
You can get involved in 2020.
As we expand our offerings and support in 2020, we have opportunities for you to join the team! Whether it’s just spreading the word about what we’re doing on your own or volunteering your time on one of our teams (media, grants, Awards, or Voices), we will be happy to have you. Some paid positions are available as well.