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The $100 Story

Listen to Rick’s touching interview with Clark Howard about the Christmas 53 years ago that changed his life forever and how it ignited a spirit for giving that continues to this day.

Clark: It’s 11:38 this Friday morning and we are on a quest to make sure that every child in foster care in the state of Georgia has gifts Christmas morning and it’s up to you. You’re the one who makes it happen at and I want to tell you, we’ve had a longtime supporter of Clark’s Christmas Kids. He’s Rick Jackson, he’s the Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. If you’re not familiar with them they’re one of the largest private companies in Georgia. They run a huge healthcare staffing firm.

Rick Jackson has a special connection to Clark’s Christmas Kids that goes back to your childhood, does it not, Rick?

Rick:  Yes, Clark, thanks very much for what you guys are doing, especially this year it’s very important. You know, one of the things my preacher talks about in giving is to everybody individually is to find out what breaks your heart and go give to it or go help try to solve that problem. Obviously, this is very important to me for that reason. I was in foster care myself, from the age of 13 to when I aged out and I went to several different foster homes and so forth, but on my 13th birthday I was at Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur.

And so, at the children’s home most of them are orphans or foster kids, we were basically at that point in time just orphans, but basically the Christmas when I was 13 years old came about and all of the kids from the cottages and so forth went home to their family. Well, I didn’t have a family at that point in time to go home to. Needless to say, I was very, very sad and I cried myself to sleep. So, the next morning I woke up and there was an envelope under my door and it said, “from an anonymous donor” and it was $100 bill.

Now this was 1967 so it was a lot of money back then but it was just – what it did for me that somebody I didn’t know would help me, would give me something for Christmas because Christmas meant so much more then to me. So, at any rate and because of that I basically as I became an adult I said I want to do that when I can afford it when I grow up and so from the time that when I was like 21 years old I’ve been doing that as well as to every employee that we have in memorance of that.

But the bottom line is that, especially this year, the children you’ll never know – it’s bad enough for people right now I’m not going to be able to get, because of COVID, not be with my kids this year and everybody’s going through those kinds of things- but when you’re a foster child you’re not only dealing with that, that’s an inconvenience for us. With foster kids they have to deal with the fact that they don’t have a family or if they have foster family and then the foster families are having a very hard time because most of them have 1 or 2 children themselves and they’re struggling and so how are they going to struggle even more to help these kids? And so, this is a very sad time but I’m telling you the impact of what you guys are doing makes a huge difference in these kids lives.

Clark: Rick, I want to tell you that you feel this obviously through your heart and soul and passion and I hear the emotion in you right now and you have a specific challenge you want to put out right now for the next hour because this means so much to you. What is that that you’re offering to do?

Rick: Well Clark, because things are so bad and we need this and you guys can’t be in Walmart stores and all that kind of stuff I just think we need to have everybody all-in on this and so what I want to do is I want to challenge all of your listeners for the next hour that we will match any dollar that they give in donations or toys or whatever up to $50,000 we will match that during this next hour.

Clark: Wow, wow. Rick that is unbelievable and I hear, when you tell that story about being alone on Christmas morning at 13 years old and how much to this moment, gosh we’re talking 53 years later I guess is that right?

Rick: That’s right, that’s exactly right.

Clark: 53 years later that someone cared enough about you who didn’t know you to give you $100 bill I mean… man. I mean, and that that has carried in you for your whole life.

Rick: Absolutely and these kids you know, we have a nonprofit that takes care of, we’ll have 265 children in beds tonight and we take care of them and DFCS doesn’t have to. And our company does drives and so forth, but it means so much to these kids just at a moment of despair and loneliness that somebody comes in and does something for them that doesn’t want anything back makes a huge difference for the rest of their life even though it’s a small thing for us right now.

Clark: Well, Rick Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare, I appreciate you so much and thank you for remembering and doing this for these children. A very Merry Christmas to you.

Rick: Merry Christmas and thank you Clark for doing this for over 20 years and what you’re doing you’ll never know this side of heaven what it will mean to people so thank you very much Clark.

Clark: Thank you. So, you got it right there, Rick Jackson $50,000 on the table now till 12:30 you go and donate right now at Clark’s Christmas Kids dollar for dollar, 50-grand match for these kids. It’s up to you, it’s not up to somebody else, it’s up to you.