The People's Stimulus Package
Press Participants Pledge Blog

MSNBC Nightly News with Brian WIlliams
by Michelle Kosinski
March 2009

Danny Cottrell shares his story about how he started the People's Stimulus Package with $2 bills.

KPIX Channel 5

Livermore Businessman Pays It Forward

CBS5 KPIX, Reported by Sharon Chin
July 2, 2009

LIVERMORE, CA(CBS 5) — With all the gloomy economic news, an East Bay man has decided to do something hopeful. He has launched his own stimulus plan program to pay it forward.

Dave Theobald is sharing his good fortune two dollars at a time. Business at his Livermore company, Turman Commercial Painters, has soared 68 percent over last year. So he has started his own stimulus plan to help the local economy. "We had our largest year-to-date ever. It means a lot to do something back for community," Theobald said.

Since May, he has given each of his 200 employees two envelopes. Each envelope contains fifty $2 bills to spend in their local communities. He calls the program the People's Stimulus plan... (Full Story & Video)

Contra Costa Times

Brentwood church jumps on ‘pay it forward’ bandwagon with $2 bills

Contra Costa Times, Reported by Rowena Coetsee
February 3,2010

BRENTWOOD — The task was impossible.

Christ had directed his disciples to feed the masses that had come to hear him speak — well over 5,000 men, women and children — using only the five loaves and two fish they had among them.

But as the disciples collected and redistributed the food it miraculously multiplied until every last person had eaten, and there was still enough left over to fill a dozen baskets.

Now a small Brentwood church is putting a modern-day twist on the Gospel account, believing that one act of giving can produce blessings many times over. (Full Story)


Brentwood Church Helping By Handing Out Cash

CBS 5, Reported by Lisa Chan
January 31,2010

A church in Brentwood is helping stimulate the economy in an unorthodox way by handing out cash to be spent within the community. (Full Story & Video)


E. Bay Businessman's Pay It Forward Plan Expands

CBS 5, Reported by Sharon Chin
January 25,2010

Can $2 bills help stimulate the economy? Livermore – Last year CBS 5 first told you about Dave Theobald, who gave his 200 employees at Turman Commercial Painters in Livermore $30,000 worth in $2 bills to stimulate the economy. But he never dreamed the program would expand to more than 20 states.

"It's awesome, it's absolutely awesome," Theobald said.

Theobald reports 60 organizations in 23 states have launched their own version of his People's Stimulus Program, giving away some $200,000. (Full Story)

Denver Business Journal

Paying It Forward

January 22,2010

Can $2 bills help stimulate the economy? Check the map on, and you’ll see companies nationwide that have agreed to distribute $2 bills to employees or customers – telling them to spend it in the community.

Turman Commercial Painters just opened a Denver office, with estimator Torrey Hartley the only employee so far. The Livermore, Calif.-based company predicts the local branch will grow to three or four estimators, and 40-50 field staffers, in 18 months. Meanwhile, Hartley has been handing out $2 bills with “People’s Stimulus” stickers on them. (Full Story)

Indiana News Center

Local Company “paying it forward” two dollars at a time

Indiana News Center, Reported by Laura Donaldson
December 24, 2009

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - A two-dollar bill may not buy much these days, but it sure is making a big difference in our community.

Fort Wayne’s Votaw Electric is joining dozens of business across the nation in a grassroots effort to stimulate local economies. It’s a revolution called "The People's Stimulus Package." (Full Story)

Fort Wayne business gives stimulus plan
Employees had to give part of money to charity

December 24, 2009

Employees at Votaw Electric got a surprise Monday night. Each person got an envelope with $120 inside in the form of 60 $2 bills. "I thought it was awesome," Rich Jennings said. "That's what this company is all about, community."

Jennings is an estimator for Votaw. The money came with instructions saying 20 percent should be given to a charity. The rest could be spent whoever the employee wanted. (Full Story & Video)

Grande Coffee $1.70, 2 Burgers $2 – Spreading smiles - Priceless
Sacramento Businessman to spread cheer with rare $2 bills Friday evening

December 15, 2009

Sacramento, CA – December 15, 2009 – Think you can’t make people smile with $2? Think again. Pat Parkinson owner of River City Furniture Auction ( will be handing out $500 in unique $2 bills to his auction customers this Friday evening. But there is a catch to the money. He will ask his customers to take the money and “Pay it Forward” - use it to help others less fortunate in the community. “We just thought it would be nice to spread some cheer this Friday,” says Parkinson. “Things are still tough out there, and sometimes doing something nice for others, even if it doesn’t involve a lot of money, can really make someone’s day. Given the season it will be a fun thing to do.”

Parkinson will give out the $2 bills to his customers who sign up for bidder cards at his Friday night live Furniture auction, in envelopes containing $2 - $40. To find enough of the unusual $2 bills, Parkinson had to order them from his local bank branch. Why $2 bills? “Because $2 bills are so rare, they standout and give people a chance to talk about them, and tell the story,” says Parkinson, “We are hoping the recipients will also find a way to Pay it Forward”. Some $2 bill facts: Only 1% of the currency produced is $2 bills. The bills were discontinued, but reintroduced in 1976 for the bicentennial ($2 dollars is 200 cents), and the $2 bills are one of only two bills featuring two Presidents (the other is the $5,000 bill). “Many people have never seen a $2 bill before, and in showing them to local area store clerks, some of them thought they were fake,” laughs Parkinson, “they definitely are something people remember.”

Parkinson got his inspiration from other companies and organizations across the country, that have given $2 bills to others to Pay it Forward. The $2 “random act of kindness” movement started with Danny Cottrell an Alabama Pharmacist who gave $16,000 to his employees with the request they spend it locally and use it to help others. Since March over 50 organizations have given over $140,000 in $2 bills and asked the recipients to “Pay it Forward”. The amounts were given in $2 bills and varied from $2 to $700 each – but the effect was the same with by far the biggest benefit incurred by the givers. Says one recipient who was given $2 bills to hand out, “The opportunity to help others in our community was a real joy to me. Some people received my small gift with wide-eyed (some tearful) and childlike joy.” Another person who gave several of his $2 bills to his handy-man commented, “What fun to see a face light up in such stressful times.”



December, 2009

We are excited about this project and the opportunity that it presents to give back to our communities and bless the lives of countless individuals. A lot of us say, “I’d like to help others” or “I want to change lives” but we get busy or think that we don’t have the resources to make a real difference. The goal of Need2Seed is to make it easy and to encourage people to get actively involved in the process of blessing others. This goal is accomplished by investing in the lives of others no matter the amount, whether great or small.

Grace Church of Humble gives more than $20,000 to congregation

November 29, 2009

HUMBLE, TX - Grace Church of Humble encouraged their members to give back to the community and they did it in a very unique way -- by paying it forward.

They kicked off the Need 2 Seed Project this weekend by asking the question, “What is your view of money; need, greed or seed?” (Full Story & Video)

Church Gives Money to Give to Others

November 29, 2009

Members of Grace Church of Humble left services with much more than spirituality (Full Story & Video)

Charlotte Business Journal

Cash comes to Charlotte with new company

October 30, 2009

If you notice an increase in $2 bills circulating in Charlotte, credit the president and chief executive of Turman Commercial Painting.

Dave Theobald has set up an East Coast springboard here for his Liverpool, Calif.-based painting company.

Turman is operating in about 1,300 square feet of flex space at 658 Griffith Road in Fordham Park for now. But Theobald says he’s looking for a 10,000-square-foot office. And, he says, it’s a building he might buy.

In addition to establishing the new digs here, Theobald says he’s bringing the People’s Stimulus Package — a grass-roots pay-it-forward program in which he passes out thick envelopes filled with $2 bills to his workers. (Full Story)

Construction Executive

Paying It Forward

October, 2009

Turman Commercial Painters, Livermore, Calif. These days, the construction industry is riddled with fear and bad news. That’s why Dave Theobald, president and CEO of Turman Commercial Painters, Livermore, Calif., decided it was time to do something positive for his employees and reverse the negative thinking that gets in the way of business development.

His model is people-centered: Give to employees and clients, and they will give back to your business.

Through a local mentorship group, Theobald learned of Danny Cottrell, a pharmacy owner in a small town in Alabama who decided to give each of his employees a personal “stimulus package” in the form of envelopes stuffed with $2 bills. (Full Story)

Paint Square

Paint Industry Supports People's Stimulus

August 28, 2009

Painting contractors and suppliers nationwide are staking their own money on the growing grassroots “People’s Stimulus” movement to put money back into the economy $2 at a time.

Industry businesses from Alaska to Washington are following the lead of Alabama pharmacist Danny Cottrell, who handed out $16,000 in $2 bills to his employees to spend in the community, Dave Theobald, President and CEO of Turman Commercial Painters ( in Northern California, is among those who have acted.

Theobald carried out his own “stimulus package” by giving $30,000 to his 200 employees in California, Oregon and Washington. He has also launched a website ( to motivate others.

“I want to change the discussion about the economy to one of hope and action,” says Theobald. (Full Story)

KATU News Portland, OR

How to stimulate the local economy, $2 at a time

by Anita Kissée KATU News and Staff
August 20, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. – Local companies are launching their own grassroots plan called The People’s Stimulus to help the economy by giving employees cash to spend.

Employees at Oregon Commercial Painters each got $50 worth of $2 bills on two different occasions. They were told to go out and spend it any way they chose, as along as they did not save it or use it to pay bills.

Bill Hornocker with Oregon Commercial Painters was the first to join this program locally and convinced other companies like Miller Paint and Sherwin-Williams to also jump on board.

“It made me really excited to spread this, but I was really amazed how they perceived it,” said Hornrocker. “They ate it up, they were excited.”

Jeremy Renfro, who works at Oregon Commercial Painters, spent his stimulus money at Saturday Market, downtown coffee shops and the Vancouver Farmers’ Market. (Full Story)

Brewton Standard

Cottrell continues to inspire

by Kerry Whipple Bean
August 12, 2009

Despite all attempts to be unassuming, Danny Cottrell continues to put Brewton on the map.

His “one-man stimulus package” has been talked about from coast to coast, and he continues to inspire other businesses to do their part.

Back in February, as well all know, Cottrell distributed $16,000 to employees at Medical Center Pharmacy in Brewton — and all of the cash was in $2 bills. His only request was that the money be spent locally, with a portion given to charity.

Since then, those $2 bills have circulated over and over again in Brewton, at local stores and restaurants and even during two “Spend $20 on the 20th” events sponsored by The Brewton Standard and the Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now a California commercial painting company has started a Web site devoted to “The People’s Stimulus Package,” and the site is tracking the businesses around the country that are modeling Danny’s idea. The Web site can be found at Story)

The Agurban

Local Economic Stimulus

August 11, 2009

A couple weeks ago, we told you the story of Tracy, CA’s economic stimulus plan of giving a $500 gift card to be used at local merchants to anyone who purchased a new car from an area dealer. Prior to that we told you about Danny Cottrell, a pharmacist from Brewton, AL, who gave his employees a bonus in $2 bills so he and the rest of the county could see how the money circulated in their community. We are happy to share with you this economic stimulus story from Joseph P. Cristiano from Northern California. (Full Story)

$2 Cure for the Economy' hits Arizona, get involved

Using $2 bills and "buy local" promotions, these 6 towns have launched their own campaigns to keep local businesses alive.
by Kyle Burke
August 7, 2009

PHOENIX -- One Valley business is trying to boost the economy two dollars at a time.

Dena Patton, owner of "Chat, Chew & Chocolate," has given five of her employees, $10 each in two dollar bills, to go and spend out in the community.

The program is known as, "The Peoples Stimulus Package," and the stipulations are that they can't use the money to pay bills or to get out of debt.

They have to spend the money at another business, then encourage that business owner to "pay it forward" with those bills. (Full Story)

CNN Money

Grassroots Stimulus

Using $2 bills and "buy local" promotions, these 6 towns have launched their own campaigns to keep local businesses alive.
by Emily Maltby
July 30, 2009

Danny Cottrell, owner of The Medical Center Pharmacy, made his two dozen employees very nervous when he called them in for a meeting in early March. But after a few words regarding the dismal state of the economy, he did something unexpected: He handed each an envelope containing hundreds of dollars in $2 bills. (Full Story)


People's stimulus package boosts local economy

KOMO News, Reported by Lindsay Cohen
July 28, 2009

REDMOND, Wash. — A $2 bill may not buy a whole lot these days, but in Redmond, it may actually make a whole lot of change.

"You know, when you get bigger, you're responsible for more. So it's just to give back," said John Noble, who oversees Washington Commercial Painters.

Noble decided since business was good, he'd paint the town green.(Full Story) (Video)

KOMO News Radio

People's stimulus package boosts local economy

KOMO News Radio by Brian Gregory
July 28, 2009

Listen to the radio interview here...mp3

FOX 40

Employer Gives Workers Stimulus Money

Rebel Against the Recession
by Lonnie Wong FOX 40 Sacramento, CA
July 2009


KCBS Banner

Giving Out Money $2 At A Time

CBS 5 and KCBS reporter Sharon Chin discusses a Livermore paint store owner taking part in a unique variation of the "Economic Stimulus Plan." (3:42)
July 2, 2009 (Listen to KCBS Audio Interview)

Pleasanton Chamber Newsletter

Stimulus starts at home
Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce I Business Connection, By Pamela Ott
July 2009

Local columnist Susan Groshans recently wrote about Turman Commercial Painters, a Pleasanton business whose CEO, Dave Theobald, is giving each of his 200 employees $150 in $2 bills to help stimulate the economy. So far two rounds of $10,000 each have been issued, with a goal of giving a total of $30,000... (Full Story)

Toledo Blade

Recession Angels Rise to the Occasion
By Roberta de Boer
July 02, 2009

Seen any of those $2 bills floating around Toledo bearing a blue-inked stamp?

They're handing 'em out left and right, although it's not like anyone's giving away money. But Toledo Choose Local has launched a campaign recently to remind us to do what the organization's name suggests.

"It matters if people spend their money locally," said Stacy Jurich, TCL's executive director. "When people spend at national chains, a lot of the revenues are going to leave our economy. But if they spend locally, chances are that will be recirculated."

Toledo Choose Local was at the downtown Farmer's Market on two recent Saturdays, she said, and "we set up a booth, just like the other vendors, so people could come with $100 and we'd exchange that for $2 bills stamped with our logo."(Full Story)

Around Pleasanton: A stimulating stimulus story of two-dollar bills, By Susan Groshans, June 16, 2009

WHEN JOE CRISTIANO retired six years ago from his 18-year tenure as CEO of Kelly-Moore Paints, conventional retirement was the furthest thing from the Pleasanton man's mind.

He now splits his time between working as an international consultant and mentoring a group of 30 local entrepreneurs. Over the past few months, the entrepreneur group has been discussing how businesses thrive in difficult economic times.

"Most young people have never gone through anything like this," Cristiano reflected. "Our discussions were negative, about layoffs and business being down. I wanted to find something positive to talk about."

Cristiano told them about a pharmacist in a small Alabama town who started a grass roots stimulus campaign based on his concern that federal stimulus dollars wouldn't reach local businesses... (Full Story)

Birmingham News

Adamsville Pharmacy owners create a hometown stimulus package
Adamsville pharmacy owners Anthony and Johnny Brooklere delivered their stimulus package Monday in white paper bags.
April 21, 2009

On the outside, each bag bore an employee's name. On the inside, there was one or two stacks of $2 bills.

The Brookleres wanted to thank the Adamsville Pharmacy's 18 employees and help boost the local economy with $6,400. So, they gave full-time employees $400 and part-time employees $200.

They asked only two things of the recipients: donate 10 percent to a local charity or church and spend the money in the Adamsville area.

"We felt like this was a good time to let the community know we've been here 40 years and we plan on being here," said Johnny Brooklere. (Full Story)

Daily Home Online

Pharmacists surprise staff with 'stimulus'
By Kendra Carter
March 29, 2009

SYLACAUGA — They saw the idea in the local newspaper and decided to run with it. At an 8 a.m. staff meeting Thursday morning, Danny Johnson, who co-owns Marble City Pharmacy with his son Jacob, gave employees something unexpected — a stack of $2 bills and three rules.

Johnson said he saw a newspaper article about Brewton pharmacist Danny Cottrell, who recently gave his employees a total of $16,000 in $2 bills, as his own version of the government’s economic stimulus plan.

“We thought it was the smartest idea we’d ever seen,” Johnson said.

After some brainstorming and a couple of trips to Alabama Trust bank, the pharmacists were able to present their employees with the “Marble City Pharmacy Employee Local Economy Booster” Thursday morning before the store opened its doors for business.

“A lot of them cried,” Johnson said. “It was pretty awesome, because it was a total surprise.”

The 10 full-time employees received $500 each, while the three part-time employees received either $200 or $100, Johnson said, depending on the number of hours they work. "We felt like this was a good time to let the community know we've been here 40 years and we plan on being here," said Johnny Brooklere. (Full Story)

ABC News

Recession Angels Rise to the Occasion
Extraordinary People Give Back to Their Communities When It Matters Most
March 11, 2009

This recession has no lack of villains. There are predatory lenders, super scammers like Bernard Madoff, and propped-up CEOs who insist on their multimillion-dollar bonuses while Americans lose their homes and watch their savings plunge.

But there is also a group of Americans who have done extraordinarily generous things, even as the economy around them crumbles.

Call them recession angels, people who have taken their own money and given it to employees and their communities just as everybody else has been cutting back.

Take Danny Cottrell, the owner of a pharmacy in a tiny town in southern Alabama.
He decided recently that the town of Brewton needed its own stimulus and that his 24 employees deserved a little something extra. So he doled out $16,000 in cash bonuses. Every full-time worker got $700 and every part-time employee got $300. (Full Story)


Brewton pharmacist launches homegrown economic stimulus with $2 bills
BREWTON -- A small-town pharmacist intrigued by the government's economic stimulus plan decided to launch his own version with $16,000 in $2 bills, and area stores have already felt the impact.
March 4, 2009

Danny Cottrell gave each of his full-time employees $700 and part-timers $300. He asked them to donate 15 percent to charity and spend the rest locally, particularly downtown, where store owners say that business has been lean.

"I wanted to do something for my employees, let them know our business is not in jeopardy, and for the local merchants," said Danny Cottrell, owner of The Medical Center Pharmacy with its main store in Brewton and a second in Atmore. "This seemed like a good way to do it." (Full Story)


Country Boy’s Stimulus Plan
By Jessica Taloney
February 27, 2009

Danny Cottrell has always been in the business of helping people. He owns a pharmacy in Brewton and a health care store in Atmore.

"My parents always taught me when you get more, you're responsible for more," he says.
It's only fitting, in these tough economic times, that Danny would somehow figure out a way to help again. This time he's left his employees speechless.

During a staff meeting earlier this week, Danny handed each of his 24 employees a brown envelope. Divided among them was $16,000 worth of two-dollar bills. (Full Story & Video)