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Principal® Foundation Announces National Short Story Contest Finalists

Principal® Foundation Announces National Short Story Contest Finalists

Published 10-23-23

Submitted by Principal Financial Group, Inc.

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Principal® Foundation, a nonprofit supporting areas locally and globally where Principal Financial Group® does business, announced 17 finalists for its inaugural national short story contest that invited people to share short stories around lived experiences with money. The contest is part of Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative, a new program from Principal Foundation that uses the power of storytelling to help destigmatize and encourage conversations about money and personal finances.

The contest is hosted in collaboration with The Center for Fiction, a national literary nonprofit, and Short Édition, a global publishing house. The finalists’ stories were selected by an esteemed panel of literary authors and experts including Mahogany L. Browne, Ava Chin, Novella Ford, Sidik Fofana, Xochitl Gonzalez, Alvin Hall, Erika L. Sánchez, Ashley Woodfolk, and Judy Zuckerman along with Principal Foundation, Short Édition, and The Center for Fiction.

“When we share our stories, we remove barriers and help ourselves and others build better futures,” said Jo Christine Miles, director, Principal Foundation and Community Relations, Principal Financial Group. “Through the timeless power of storytelling, we can ignite peoples’ imaginations to empower them to reshape their own experiences with money, overcome challenges, and foster more open discussions around stigmatized topics.”

Conversations about money can be difficult and uncomfortable. A survey of 3,000 Millennial and Gen Z Americans conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Principal Foundation in 2023 revealed that 53% of people who don’t talk about money are afraid to because it makes them feel awkward and they fear being judged by others. The finalists’ stories touched upon these emotions and explored topics such as debt, sacrifice, and independence. This year’s finalists include:

  • Alyson Mosquera Dutemple, “Doubloons” 
  • Cameron Walker, “Planting Instructions” 
  • Carla Damron, “Twenty Dollars” 
  • Cedric Rose, “The Beating Heart of the World” 
  • Jin Kim, “Owners, Soon” 
  • John Clark, “The Next Right Thing” 
  • Karen Heuler, “Ethel Finds Money” 
  • Katherine Cart, “Not God” 
  • Katherine Cofer, “Rat Race” 
  • Lu Han, “The absence of want” 
  • Lucy Zhang, “Evaporation” 
  • Mandy Shunnarah, “Come Get It” 
  • Marcie Roman, “Cutouts” 
  • Matt Goldberg, “The Hoard” 
  • Purvi Shah, “Eldest” 
  • Sarah Rose Batchu, “Mango Grove” 
  • Zachary Kellian, “Scotch 80s”

Each finalist will receive a monetary prize and have their stories published through Principal Foundation's network of Short Story DispensersTM located within Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in New York, N.Y.; Sip & Sonder in Los Angeles, Calif.; South County Regional Library in Charlotte, N.C.; Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Wash., and Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa. Finalists’ stories are also being considered for publication in Short Édition's global network of more than 500 Story DispensersTM located across the globe in airports, public transportation hubs, retail centers, and other locations. Short Édition has dispensed over eight million stories worldwide to date. 

For more information about Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative visit:

To read stories from this year’s finalists, visit:

News Release Contact

Corporate information and community 
Sara Bonney, 515-878-0835

About Principal® Foundation 
Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. (“Principal Foundation”) is a duly recognized 501(c)(3) entity focused on providing philanthropic support to programs that build financial security in the communities where Principal Financial Group, Inc. (“Principal”) operates. While Principal Foundation receives funding from Principal, Principal Foundation is a distinct, independent, charitable entity. Principal Foundation does not practice any form of investment advisory services and is not authorized to do so. Established in 1987, Principal Foundation works with organizations that are helping to shape and support the journey to financial security by ensuring access to essential needs, fostering social and cultural connections, and promoting financial inclusion. Principal Foundation funds a growing network of more than 140 charitable organizations in 25 countries and territories.

About Short Édition 
Short Édition is an international publishing house specializing in short fiction and creative non-fiction. With a vision to make literature accessible to all, Short Édition places a wide range of short stories – spanning fiction, poetry, comic strips, and children's stories – directly into the hands of readers worldwide. The company is renowned for creating the innovative Short Story Dispenser™, a simple yet impactful way to connect with readers, delivering printed stories at the touch of a button. Having proudly dispensed over 8 million short stories across five continents, authored by more than 10,000 independent writers, Short Édition continues to redefine the reading experience. To learn more, visit

About The Center for Fiction 
The Center for Fiction is a literary nonprofit that brings diverse communities together to develop and share a passion for fiction. Founded in 1821 as the Mercantile Library of New York in Manhattan, the organization is now based in the heart of the Brooklyn cultural district, with a 18,000-square-foot facility that offers New Yorkers an immersive cultural experience centered on reading and writing. Throughout the year, The Center for Fiction provides a vast array of public programming, reading groups, and writing workshops. The First Novel Prize and Emerging Writer Fellowships help build literary careers, and KidsRead/KidsWrite programs inspire an early love of reading and writing in public school students with author-led events. In recent years, the organization's programming has expanded to include storytelling in all its forms, integrating music, theater, dance, film, television, and the visual arts into its exploration of the best of fiction throughout history and today.

Media Contact: 
Taylor Madigan 

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Principal Financial Group, Inc.

Principal Financial Group, Inc.

Principal Financial Group® (Nasdaq: PFG) is a global financial company with 18,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 51 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of America’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a Top 10 “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.” Learn more about Principal and our commitment to building a better future at

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