A Letter From Tom and David Gardner

The cat's out of the bag! Happy April Fool's.

To our friends, family, and the millions who make The Motley Fool home to the world’s greatest investment community:

Throughout our 16-year history, The Motley Fool has always stood for the rights of individual investors.

Whether it’s leading the fight for the passage of Reg FD, or testifying before Congress to call for greater transparency on Wall Street, we have been at the forefront of some of the most public battles in the financial markets.

Today is no different.

While some believe that the current climate calls for abandoning basic principles, we Fools believe that honesty and transparency are more critical now than ever before, even in these unprecedented times.

That is why we are very excited to share the news that The Motley Fool has applied for and accepted financial recovery funding from the United States Government to the tune of $25 million.

“Bailout” is not a four-letter word
We realize this news may surprise some of you. Frankly, the decision to apply for this funding was a source of great internal debate here at Fool HQ. After all, our chief financial officer and our Board of Directors unanimously agreed that we have no urgent need nor critical use for this capital.

That said, we are a financial services company that has been materially affected, like every other business in our sector. Since other financial services companies were receiving aid from the government, we saw no reason not to apply for the same.

WWFD (What Would a Fool Do?)
Conventional wisdom dictates that a company like The Motley Fool maintains a neutral stance and continues to be an independent watchdog on behalf of individual investors across America and around the world. And because we’ve been bucking conventional wisdom from the start, we knew applying for and accepting $25 million of U.S. taxpayer money was the right thing to do.

But we also knew that it would be tough getting the money. 

After all, there are thousands of financial institutions in danger of collapse that didn’t receive aid. Then came a stroke of brilliance from one of our interns. 

In the “Areas of Business Operation” section of the federal aid application, she suggested we add “auto company” to our list of industries. Auto company? Yes. This was mostly justified, as we’ve owned and operated a Foolmobile for many years, and at special events, we would charge children for rides. Over the years, our “Foolmobile Rides” program has brought in more than $1.2 million in direct revenue, a portion of which we allocated to our annual Foolanthropy charity drive.

As we later discovered from a TARP lobbyist and a high-ranking staff member on the appropriations panel, applying for aid as a financial and an automobile business was the extra edge we needed to get the $25 million in funding.

To ensure that our first-ever government transaction was completed, we held off on sharing this news until we actually received the money and were able to deposit it, making sure to spread it out over several banks. We then spent the overwhelming majority of it ($24 million, to be precise) on TMF infrastructure and personnel, as well as a few miscellaneous niceties designed to keep our company strong and growing for years to come.

We have no doubt that some of our more cynical “friends” in the financial services industry will use this news as yet another opportunity to take a shot at us. That’s fine. We welcome the debate and take solace in the fact that we are sharing this news with you directly and transparently, in a way few, if any, private companies would.

Moreover, we’ve yet to share the most exciting part of this announcement:

We want you to help us spend the rest of the money.

Tell us what you think!
That’s right, Fool. Just as we have done with our Foolanthropy campaigns, we’re letting you decide what to do with the remainder of our bailout money.

To do this, we have set up a special Fools-only website where you can make a difference and help choose where the remaining $1 million of our U.S. taxpayer dollars will go. We’ve picked five honest, hardworking Americans from our Fool community who have been hit especially hard during these tough times, and we will be donating the extra money to the most deserving individual.

At a time when all Americans are feeling pain in their wallets and pocketbooks, we’re proud today to give everyone the chance to benefit from the priceless and intangible good feeling that only comes from a voting process like this.

As always, this is an open forum. Now that we’ve shared our exciting news, we want to know what you think! If you’ve got questions, concerns, and above all, additional ideas for how we can spend the remaining money, please send us an email and tell us now!

Tom & David Gardner

For additional information about this announcement, please click on a link below:

Read/Post Comments (26) | Recommend This Article (326)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:27 PM, TMFMoby wrote:

    I'm having a hard time deciding between Luther and Lenny on This is the hardest decision of my lifetime.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:27 PM, chantillydude wrote:

    Just mail me the $25 million, I'll take care of it for you.

    Now I feel like I've invested like Buffet AND Maddoff!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:29 PM, darter22 wrote:

    I am investing my stimulus check in Powerball tickets.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:31 PM, RapidEye wrote:

    You'll need the extra cash to support your smoking habit after the latest tax increase!

    Fool On!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:33 PM, fml wrote:

    You can send it to you ... but you've already given me an April Fool's Day smile.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:35 PM, Hebmeister wrote:

    I have been a member for only two months. I subscribed to get good investing recommendations. It seems like 80% of the emails have given a couple recommendations, but for "A FEW DOLLARS MORE I could get the 'best recommendations'" Spend the $25m to buy your paying subscribers the premium subscriptions that you seemed to be promising for our initial outlays.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:39 PM, UltimateAnalyst wrote:

    What is the disclaimer at the voting site? Whose joke?

    DISCLAIMER: By voting for one of our candidates, you have created a binding contract to provide housing for the individual for a period up to six months or until the winning individual has regained significant employment (defined as annual salary of $1.5 million or greater). During said time winning individual will have access to 100% of your bathroom facilities and will be given ten cubic meters of refrigerator space as well as temporary ownership of two of your automobiles. If you don’t own a nice enough car (bluebook value $100K+), you will be obligated to build a life-like model/cutout for use in promotional photos and publicity events. If the winning candidate has a pet allergy (4 of 5 candidates currently are allergic to cat, dog, and wolf), you have agreed to euthanize all pets on the premises and sell/replace all furniture and clothing in the house during the time in which the animal infestation occurred at your property. You are agreeing to convert your living space (defined as anything except water heater) into an entertainment center complete with DJ booth, light-up dance floor and solid gold disco ball. At all times, your dining room must contain a catered salmon. If after six months, the winning individual has not regained significant employment, you are agreeing to modify your appearance to resemble the winner and drive off a cliff wearing his clothes. Winning candidate will assume your identity and will legally change his name to yours (except if your name is something that can easily be made fun of, such as Enis. In this case, winner will be renamed Navin Johnson.) If you are not willing to agree to these terms in their entirety, then you shouldn’t have voted.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:46 PM, UltimateAnalyst wrote:

    BTW the I sure hope this the TMF's sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick April Fool's Joke.

    It was very inventive and actually had me going for a bit. Then I realized that someone there has a pretty darn sick mind. ROFL.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:47 PM, scott629 wrote:

    Maybe there's some way you can sell rides on the Foolmobile. I know I'd sure enjoy getting taken for a ride.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 7:57 PM, canuckmom wrote:

    Had me going for a bit too until I realized what day it was...loved the toilet seats and diamond encrusted sign...thanks for the laugh. It was needed today!!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:02 PM, murfool62 wrote:

    Wow, I was about two sentences into deriding you guys about stretching the truth to get funds you didn't need until UltimateAnalyst reminded me of the date and the Motley Fool tradition. Nice one.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:03 PM, darbymoon wrote:

    April Fools joke, I hope!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:03 PM, webspinner1 wrote:

    Good grief. Somethings just aren't funny. I was beginning to feel like a member of a herd of lemmings leaping off a cliff. This better be a very sick April "Fools" joke..

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:04 PM, SigFinDoc wrote:


  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:11 PM, thedofca100 wrote:

    You had me going for awhile as well. That gives you an idea of what I think our govt. is capable of doing. I actually believed they might give the Motley Fool $25 million. Why not? I plan to send your formula into the govt. myself and see if I can get $50 mil. It's makes as much sense as the crooked financial companies and banks that are getting so much

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:16 PM, RNZ100 wrote:

    Brilliant! That was the funniest thing I've read in ages!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:16 PM, Letitallhangout wrote:

    Heck, I thought with all the money you two have made over the last many years, you already had all this stuff.... >;-)

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:22 PM, Teddythecat wrote:

    Terrific!!! Ya gotta have a sense of humor! Lauren needs to pick better friends:)

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:29 PM, Zaneyjaney wrote:

    Apply and accept

    Funding for Recovery

    Take 25 Mill on rec --

    Now, ain't that Loverly?

    Share and Share alike, I say!

    oh, and by the way,

    to all fellow Fools,

    Happy April Fool's Day!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:41 PM, lenorel35 wrote:

    Please spend your hard earned bonus on "financial mentors" to your hapless subscribers to help them recover pennies on the dollar of their sizeable losses.. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 8:53 PM, TMFDiogenes wrote:


  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 2:01 PM, Nukeman100 wrote:

    Can't find it in my heart to invest in GREEN. I believe it's morally wrong to squander all that money on a theory.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 4:47 PM, venture4 wrote:

    I wasn't taken in for a second.......Who would bother going to all that trouble for a crummy 25 million?????

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 7:52 PM, FabMcG wrote:

    Never read beyond the headline, assumed it was another upselling email effort

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2009, at 6:56 PM, peters46 wrote:

    Of course, the most obvious tell was only $240 for $240 worth of pudding. But I have another comment (I can't find anywgere else to make it), about the government taking away shareholders' voting rights. Something called ARRA (having to do with rule making for companies that receive bailout money (all or just financial - I don't know)) declared that companies (instead of putting up options plans, retention benefit plans, retirement plans, executive bonus plans, etc for shareholder approval) must now allow advisory votes on such - meaning that boards of directors don't have to listen, they can ignore the votes. I automatically voted against such plans when the plans wanted to reserve three to five percent of outstanding shares for such plans. Of course it probably won't make much difference because, like political elections, most people eiyther don't vote, or they vote party lines (or rubber stamp directors' recommendations. Apparently ARRA did make one rule I agree with (golden parachutes must be no larger than 30% of the executive's annual pay).

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 1:10 AM, Jobbard wrote:

    I thought this was legit. I was getting pissed haha.

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