A Year of Thanks: Reflecting on Penny Forward’s Journey

A Message from Penny Forward Founder and CEO Chris Peterson

As we wrap up 2023, I want to take a moment to look back at what has made this year stand out for Penny Forward. It’s been a real journey, and I owe a big thank you to everyone who’s been part of it.

First off, a huge shoutout to the Penny Forward board and the community members who joined us for the planning summit in September. Your support and advice have been crucial to  tripling our membership this year, all thanks to your help.

Now, let’s talk donors. Whether you’re a big corporation like Wells Fargo or an individual who chipped in a few bucks at a convention, your support is reshaping the way we look at the financial health of the blind community. It’s pretty awesome to see the impact, big or small.

Major kudos to our partners – World Services For The Blind and the APH Connect Center. You’ve been with us from the start, and we couldn’t have come this far without you. Together, we’re reaching corners of the blind community we never thought possible.

I want to give a special shoutout to the Association For Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). Liz Bottner, Moe Carpenter, and I are on a mission to get our Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) designations, and AFCPE has been our guide through the process. It’s not always smooth sailing, but with their help, we’re getting there and paving the way for other blind financial counselors to come after us.

Big thanks to the sighted champions who’ve helped me grow in my career. Contrary to what we hear sometimes, not everyone is out to see us fail. I’ve been lucky to know some awesome people who genuinely want to see blind people succeed. It’s been a game-changer.

One thing that’s become clear to me this year is the power of helping others. From solving computer problems to connecting people through amateur radio to developing software to boost efficiency to helping blind people improve their financial health, every chance to make a positive impact has been a gift.

Now, let’s talk about ideas. I’ve got a ton of them, and while I may not have all the time and resources to bring them to life, the possibility keeps me going. There’s always more to do, and failure is just part of the journey.

Last but not least, a big thanks to the blind community. You inspire me every day. Connecting with you through Penny Forward has been a privilege, and I’m excited to connect with even more of you in the future. Your resilience and strength fuel my determination to explore new capabilities I never knew I had.

As we approach Thanksgiving, take a moment to think about the people and opportunities you’re thankful for this year. If you feel like giving back, consider joining us in our mission. Help us reach our $150,000 goal for 2024 and make a difference in the lives of blind individuals. I’m aiming to devote all my time in 2024 to finding more ways to enhance the financial capabilities of the blind community – and with your help, I know we’ll get there.

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