On April 1, the Amador Community Foundation (ACF) launched its Amador Bucks program to help Amador County businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how the program works:

  • Spend money at locally owned and operated Amador retailers and/or restaurants. Purchases can include food, goods, and/or gift certificates.
  • Save your receipt(s).
  • When you’ve spent at least $100, mail your receipts (originals or copies) along with an application form to the ACF. You’ll receive $10 in Amador Bucks for every $100 you spend.

ACF executive director Kathleen Hughes Harmon and her staff devised the Amador Bucks program because, she said, “this would engage the largest number of people.” ACF designed the program to benefit for-profit and non-profit businesses.

The Amador Bucks program also has well-defined limits. “Shop local,” Kathleen said, “doesn’t mean fast food chains and big box stores.” You also can’t use receipts from grocery stores, gas or fuel stations, utility payments, memberships, or any account payments.

There are several other basic qualifications:

  • Purchasers must be residents of Amador County.
  • Receipts must be dated April 1 or later.
  • There is a $1,000 purchase limit from any one business at a time.
  • Most importantly, there is a cap of $200 in earned Amador Bucks per person.

To benefit charities and non-profit businesses, the Amador Bucks applications form asks if you want to donate your Amador Bucks to a local charity of your choice or have a check mailed to you. If you request a check, you’ll receive it within five business days.

Kathleen said that from the start, the program has been very well received by the wider community, and especially by businesses. “Businesses have been so grateful,” she noted. The program also received a financial boost from all five Amador County supervisors, who each donated $1,000.

The ACF receives 12 to 15 Amador Bucks applications per day. The vast majority of people who send their applications ask ACF to give their Amador Bucks to their preferred charity. What’s more, Kathleen noted, there hasn’t been any negative reaction either by phone or on ACF social media profiles.

Kathleen said there is a maximum of $15,000 in Amador Bucks available to spend, and the program will end when ACF reaches that level. As of this writing, the ACF has spent about $2,000 of Amador Bucks in the community. As businesses reopen and ACF has more Amador Bucks to spend, Kathleen said, “you’ll see that money fly out.”

Hundreds of local businesses are participating in the Amador Bucks program. You can view the entire list of those businesses at the ACF website.