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Paying It Forward with Kindness and Gratitude

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As we embrace the spirit of the holiday season, we reflect on the notion that it takes a village to build a community. We believe that true wealth encompasses the richness of relationships, shared experiences, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact on our community. At Treehouse Wealth, we hope to inspire our readers to embrace the idea that reaching out and teaching about kindness and a philosophy of giving back starts at home. Parents and grandparents can play an active role in teaching children valuable financial lessons and passing on a philanthropic mindset to the younger generation. We’re grateful for the people who impact other lives—whether that impact is national, local, or right next door. With this in mind, we’d like to share several inspiring stories of people who have chosen to pay it forward with gratitude by lifting people in their communities and making a difference in the lives of many.

Jennifer Cullenbine, Founder of Family Giving Tree

The Bay Area ranks as one of the world’s most affluent areas, yet more than 800,000 Bay Area residents live at or below the poverty line, and one out of every five children here lives in poverty. These statistics are even more startling because it’s greater than the national average. For 33 years, the Family Giving Tree has been steadfastly committed to being of service to those most in need by inspiring the values of kindness, philanthropy, and volunteerism. Jennifer, known locally as the Queen Elf,” helped co-found the Family Giving Tree which started as a San Jose State MBA project to help in-need children. It has grown steadily into an established, widely respected nonprofit organization that has served over two million children and individuals throughout the greater Bay Area.1

Mary Ann Sterling, Founder of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

According to AARP statistics, grandparents raise more than 2.6 million U.S. children. Mary Ann started the nonprofit Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard County, Florida more than 20 years ago as a result of taking custody of her 6-year-old grandson, Matthew Armstrong, in 1990 after her daughter, Lynda Dawn Sterling, was killed in a car accident. Grandparents Raising Children has offered support groups, legal help, parenting classes, and tutoring in Brevard, a Central Florida county with a population of just more than 600,000 in which grandparents are raising 1 in 47 children. These grandparents (and great-grandparents) range in age from their mid-30s to their 80s, with children from infants to late teens. Many of the children’s parents struggle with drug and alcohol addiction or mental illness, are incarcerated or homeless, or have died.2

Deb Kievits, Founder of Norwich Bully Busters

Deb Kievits set out to teach kids kindness. She gained a career – and created a community. She is an honoree of “USA Today’s 2023 Women of the Year” awards. A spate of bullying in local schools (her son among the victims) led her to establish Norwich Bully Busters, a local organization in Norwich, Connecticut, as part of the Youth Against Bullying program. Bully Busters makes students aware that their actions matter and encourages people to speak out against bullying and peer pressure. Deb has continued to lead the group for 23 years.3

Final Thoughts

At Treehouse Wealth, we believe that collectively we have an impact. We can affect change by raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to our valued clients, families, and friends for allowing us to be part of their vibrant community. Wishing you and your loved ones a warm and bountiful holiday season filled with the richness of community, gratitude, and prosperity.



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Garrison Point Advisors, LLC doing business as “Treehouse Wealth Advisors” (“TWA”) is an investment advisor in Walnut Creek, CA registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Registration of an investment advisor does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission. TWA only transacts business in states in which it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration. A copy of TWA’s current written disclosure brochures, Form ADV Part 1 and Part 2A, filed with the SEC which discusses among other things, TWA’s business practices, services, and fees, is available through the SEC’s website at:

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