A New Way of Giving
Every year, Forbes Magazine publishes a list of the 25 largest charities in the U.S. In 2013, the United Way, the Salvation Army and The Task Force for Global Health filled the top three spots. Collectively, the three organizations received $7.5 billion in donations and yet there are countless Americans who are mired in abject poverty or living paycheck to paycheck. It makes you wonder, where is all that money really going?
It’s a question Andrew “Bo” Young III and his business partner, Brad Newman, are answering through their online portal GiveLocally.net. Instead of donating to these large entities and never knowing if your money is going toward someone in need or paying for reams of paper, you can choose who gets help and how to help them through Givelocally.net.
Donors can sign up online to assist everyday people who are facing financial hardships, but who are unfortunately overlooked by traditional charities or government services. Whether it’s helping families pay for much needed groceries, a single mother pay for medical expenses or a freshman pay for textbooks, people can make a real difference in the lives of pre-screened recipients giving as much or as little as they can. You will know exactly who is getting the money and what the money is going to be spent on. Young, son of Civil Rights icon Andrew Young, explains why this idea of online giving is a modern solution to an age-old problem.
“I am not anti-charity, but do I feel that 501(c)3s are not the only way to combat poverty and specifically hardships for hardworking Americans,” says Young. “We continue to see a rise in non-profits, but poverty isn’t getting any better. So why do we keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result?”
There are so many Americans in the fading middle class, working a 40-hour workweek and yet still unable to make end’s meet. Young’s website connects these people with those who relate to their stories. Recipients are thoroughly screened by a third-party company and donors can even track their gifts, posting words of encouragements until the goal is met and share in the joy once it’s achieved.
The Givelocally.net nation is growing. There are already almost 20,000 registered users and over 46,000 Facebook followers and their Twitter fans are on the rise. New patrons are usually created via word-of-mouth recommendation, but Young believes what they’re doing is indeed a part of the future.
“We are not bureaucrats thinking about how to solve poverty,” he asserts. “We have created an environment and platform where people can help one another. Money comes too hard to folks these days and people are far less trustworthy than they once where. My nieces and nephews are not going to give back in the same way that my parents once did.”
Once called, “The Google of Giving,” Givelocally.net is not a charity. They are a for-profit business and in being such, your donation is not tax refundable. They charge .18 cents on every dollar that is donated. It’s this kind of transparency Young believes will persuade people to use the site.
“People find it a rewarding, efficient, even fun,” he says. “The excitement felt in using our site is different from anything you’ll ever experience.”