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2019 Highlights

by Team Sammy


Collaboration was a central theme and strategy in 2019. It will be again in 2020.

Sammy's objective was to make it easy for anyone and everyone who wants to, to talk to and teach young kids about money - that meant parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, for-profit and non-profit enterprises, community leaders, college and high school students.

Sammy's 2019 goals were to:

  1. Have kids, schools and community agencies receive financial education resources and curriculum. 
  2. Have kids receive and have community leaders deliver financial education experiences. 
  3. Raise awareness on the importance and need for early age and family financial literacy.

See and read about the results below.

Your input is essential to compounding impact. Let us know how Sammy did. Let us know what pleases and concerns you. Let us know how Sammy can be more effective for you, for kids and families. Let us know how Sammy can refine, replicate, scale and compound impact in the coming year.

Thank you. Here is to a Sammyriffic 2020!

Programs, Experiences and Resources

  1. National Dream Big Read
  2. Garrett Planning Network Kids Camp & Collaboration with Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network
  3. Excite Credit Union to Help Low Income Students Save
  4. Wisconsin Reading Raises Interest / Wisconsin Dream Big Read
  5. Arkansas Dream Big Read
  6. Loras College Dream Big Read
  7. Philadelphia Dream Big Read
  8. Hartford Dream Big Read
  9. USC Collaboration at the LA Times Book Festival
  10. Publishing of Sammy and Santa's Advice!
  11. Money Smart Week Library Readings: Sonoma County Library | Upland Library 


  1. Childhood Money Memories Interview Series 
  2. Go Banking Rates Interviews
  3. Interviews and Columns
  4. Article in Financial Planning Association Journal
  5. Highlighted in Certified Financial Planning Board's August Newsletter
  6. Money Tips and Quotes Social Media Campaign
  7. Podcast Appearances

The Year in Words

Garrett Network Sammy Rabbit Collaboration
“Sammy Rabbit shared the same thing we talk to our clients about, except we use big words. I attended my first Dream Big Read at Jones Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas and the response from students, teachers and the community was fabulous."
Sheryl Garrett, Founder, Garrett Planning Network

Excite Credit Union Collaboration
“We distributed over 1,700 Sammy Rabbit books to grades 1, 2 and 3 throughout Santa Clara County.  One of our staff members, Aleta Smith, who recently joined our team as a Community Relations Specialist, was able to personally read the books in classrooms. Aleta grew up in foster care and managed to complete college with little debt, using her own financial literacy skills,” according to Hogan who said the credit union has already gotten requests for Sammy books in Spanish and Vietnamese. We love the fun and engaging nature that the Sammy Rabbit books bring to the program.” 
John Hogan, VP Community Relations, Excite Credit Union

Arkansas Dream Big Read
“The Arkansas Dream Big Read initiative was a great way for us to connect with new schools, and reinforce relationships with other schools. By using high profile community leaders to serve as readers, we were able to attract media attention and share the importance of early savings habits with an even broader audience. Sammy Rabbit makes savings concepts easy and memorable. It was an easy campaign to get behind."
Kathleen Lawson, Executive Director, Economics Arkansas.  

Wisconsin Reading Raises Interest
"In Wisconsin, our 400-plus volunteer bankers reached over 12,000 kids with Sammy Rabbit’s message of saving as a habit. The book received rave reviews from the students and bankers alike, making it a wonderful experience for everyone!”
Amber Seitz, Operations and Financial Education Manager, Wisconsin Bankers Association and Foundation

Philadelphia Dream Big Read
"The program brings financial education to life. The format makes the lessons easy for adults to deliver and for kids to relate to."
Leslie Girone, Founder, Money Smart 101   

Loras College Dream Big Read
“Sammy Rabbit’s long-term mindset swims against our social current of immediate gratification.The books have been effective teaching tools for his students at Loras College who are members of the Financial Planning Association’s Student Chapter and teach basic financial literacy in elementary schools. We had members of the student chapter of the Financial Planning Association on campus volunteer to lead a Dream Big Read. Over the last two years, we’ve found Sammy to be effective at instigating conversations for the kids about saving, spending, and objectives. It is a wonderful learning experience for our students as well. Everyone found it rewarding. Everyone learned.”
Brian Kallback, Founder Vine and Fig Wealth Planning, CFP®, Program Director for Financial Planning and Wealth Management at Loras College 

Oklahoma State University Dream Big Reads
Teachers and International kids learned about Sammy Rabbit and his saving and earning habits at the recent Dream Big Read National Kickoff presentation October 18, 2019 at Oklahoma State University’s Family Resource Center.

OSU students came together to host elementary students from several countries by reading the Dream Big Read Book and discussing words and habits of the savvy saver.  The instructor, Ph.D. student, Carrie Klase (a former elementary school teacher) was assisted in activities, coloring and providing a price comparison game for the students aged 6-14 years. The group consists of approximately 40 students and although not all were present, those participating were lively in discussion, coloring, and competitive games.  The session ended with cookies with $$$ on them and lemonade – a huge success and now we are going back December 4th to continue the Dream Big Read with others.  The students loved the books and so did the teachers!  We were able to share among cultures thrifty stories with common themes.  Thanks to you, Sammy Rabbit!
Joyce Montgomery, Coordinator, OSU Student Volunteer Center


National Dream Big Read Sponsor, Washington
“It is crucial kids learn about money early and harness the power of compound interest to secure their futures.Sammy Rabbit makes it easy to get them started. My grandson loves the songs and stories.” 
Paul Merriman, Author, columnist and Founder of the Merriman Financial Education Foundation. Guest Column from National Dream Big Read Sponsor, Colorado

"Emotions are powerful, and we can’t always trust the rational parts of our brains to win out. Anyone who’s ever tried a restrictive diet knows that you can only limit yourself to grapefruit for a certain amount of time. After awhile, you cave in and eat a box of cookies.

But what if there were a way to program our kids to make smart choices now and in the future without relying on will power or setting them up to feel deprived? The key might be as simple as catching our kids at a very young age and helping them form the right habits, just like Sammy Rabbit’s parents and Auntie Squirrel have done in Sam X Renick’s powerful financial literacy tools."
Abby Kovach, Principal, Kovach Financial Planning, CFP®,  

The Year in Pictures, Videos, and Social Media

Los Angeles Times Book Festival - USC Civic Engagement Stage

Excite Credit Union, Community Event

Loras College Dream Big Read, Dubuque, Iowa

Garrett Planning Network Kids Camp & Collaboration with Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network 

Chelsea Helm reads Sammy's Big Dream
Arkansas Dream Big Read, Jones Elementary School

Officer Tommy Norman reads Sammy's Big Dream
Arkansas Dream Big Read, Crestwood Elementary School

Wisconsin Reading Raises Interest / Wisconsin Dream Big Read

Philadelphia Dream Big Read

Hartford Dream Big Read

Garrett Planning Network Kids Camp & Collaboration with Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network 

1st National Dream Big Read Sponsor Directory

Master Your Card event

Century 21 at Family Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis Wheelchair Wash
Arkansas Dream Big Read, Jones Elementary School