Golden Ticket: The Community Charge Card

1207237984One of the major highlights of our grade school existence was a fundraising program that let parents purchase gift certificates to major retailers with the understanding that a small percentage of the sale would be kicked back to the school.

As a result, our anti-television, anti-preteen-nonsense mother suddenly started handing us certificates to Blockbuster and The Limited Too. And we weren’t the only lucky ones: All over the building, our slack-jawed classmates began clutching pre-gift-card-era paper money like dozens of little Charlie Buckets with golden tickets.

Clearly, this fundraising thing had made our parents crazy. And we had no idea what we did to deserve such a miracle.

Fast-forward 15 years, and the founders of Boston Community Change hope the same insanity will be a boon to area stores.

The local merchant organization (which includes 179 members, from JP’s Mindful Dog Yoga to the South End’s Looc) gives you a “Community Charge Card” to use at participating stores. Each time you swipe it, a portion of the sale is directed to a non-profit or school of your choice. And if your favorite non-profit happens to be your checking account, never fear: Another portion of the sale is actually returned to you as a cash rebate. To sign up, just provide your address and email.

Like our grade school selves, we’re not quite sure what we did to deserve this. But we’ll take our paper money plastic cards and run.

To sign up for a free card, visit