Jar for ChangeChanging the World, One J.A.R. at a Time
Jar for Change
"Help the Babies"
“Collect everyone’s change to change the world.”
Munching on an afternoon snack, legs dangling from a bar stool that dwarfs his uniform-clad frame, Joey Roth doesn’t look like the typical nonprofit founder.
Though the entrepreneurial 7-year-old won’t graduate high school until 2024, he already has big plans to raise millions: “I’m trying to change the world.”
Using His Talent for Good
It’s a normal weekday afternoon for the young philanthropist, tallying donations and giggling at the sound of his brother singing in the shower.
Joey explains that he has always had a knack for finding change on the ground and loves to scour check-out lines and parking lots during family grocery store trips.
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With his project, “Jar for Change,” he is asking others to collect money in their own jars and to place jars in libraries, schools, grocery stores and other public facilities.
His goal? “Collect everyone’s change to change the world.”
With his parents’ help, Joey has created a starter kit for supporters, including customizable jar decorations, step-by-step instructions and prize incentives for top fundraisers. Or you make make a donation online now >>
“I’m going to tell everyone I know, and then I’m going to tell them to tell everyone they know… and on and on,” he explained. “They’re going to put (the jars) in all different places.”
In selecting the name for his project, Joey used his initials, J.A.R, his idea to collect “change” in “jars,” and his ambition to make an impact on the world.
Joey started collecting money this summer, and he has already raised more than $550. Joey said people are often willing to donate their change collections to his cause.
Reason for Giving
His donation will honor Dr. Ann LaFranca, the physician who delivered him at Woman’s.
Joey’s father, Michael Roth, said Joey has heard stories of how Dr. LaFranca’s skills kept him out of harm’s way during his delivery.
Asked about his interest in raising money for Woman’s, Joey said, “Really, I just like to give money to people or things.”
Deborah Sternberg Roth, Joey’s mother, said his philanthropic inclination likely stems from his upbringing in the Jewish faith, where tzedakah, or charity, is common.
“They’ve grown up giving tzedakah weekly at Sunday school,” said Deborah. “Joey’s certainly more about the bigger picture and giving and collecting money for causes.”
“It was a natural response when we said, ‘What are you going to do with the money you found?’ He said, ‘I’m going to give it to tzedakah,” said Michael, adding, “It doesn’t surprise us because he’s unusually kind.”
Joey said fundraising is “pretty hard work,” but he thinks it’s worth it. His ultimate goal is to raise enough money to build a new hospital for Woman’s. (Since we currently have a brand-new facility, Joey’s efforts will benefit babies in the NICU.)
Joey’s most successful effort occurred at a fundraiser he attended with his parents. Michael was playing music at the event, so Joey put a tip jar in front of his father with a sign reading, “Tips: All of the proceeds are going to the babies at the Woman’s Hospital” and collected $87.18 in one night.
“The money came flowing in,” Deborah explained.
The Influence of Others
Deborah said Joey has learned about the importance of giving back and helping others throughout his young life.
“It’s never too early to give back, and it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how much money you can give. The smallest amount is meaningful,” she said. “It’s important to teach children and to learn as adults that any amount makes a difference.”
“Help the children understand that they often have things that others might not have, and that giving actually feels good,” added Michael.
Jar for Change in the “Real World”
Joey’s work has also led to some educational lessons in real-world skills.
He keeps a detailed handwritten ledger of each donation, no matter the size, and his parents plan to help him open a savings account for donations and to meet with an attorney to find out more about establishing a 501(c)3 for “Jar for Change.”
“I don’t know many seven year olds who are meeting with attorneys,” said Michael.
Joey and his parents look forward to the project’s growth. Joey built support for “Jar for Change” with a presentation to his fellow students in grades Pre-K through 12 at Episcopal High School of Baton Rouge.
Presenting his fundraising idea to students twice his age didn’t faze the young founder at all. He expertly navigated explanations of his vision as he practiced his presentation for his parents.
“People everywhere need our help,” he urged.
Learn more about making your own jar and recent updates on his Jar for Change Facebook page.