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:
- How The Motley Fool Allocated Its $25 Million
- 20 Frequently Asked Questions About The Motley Fool’s Government Funding
- Get Involved! Help us designate the remaining $1 million
- Video: The Motley Fool’s Funding Announcement on CMBC