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Benj and Jessica launched a nonprofit. Follow our journey as we built a 501(c)(3) and a web site, and now usher in an endless stream of worthy charity nominees and monthly grant winners!

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Spotlight on Maddie Potts Foundation

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nominee Maddie Potts Foundation

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Maddie Potts Foundation, nominated by donor Wildtreemichelle. Maddie Potts Foundation honor Maddie by giving back with scholarships, sports facility upgrades and opportunities for individuals ​with disabilities. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Maddie Potts Foundation

The Maddie Potts Foundation was established in November of 2017, less than 2 months after Maddie's sudden death on the soccer field of an unknown brain aneurysm. This 501(c)(3) foundation was founded in order to carry on Maddie's legacy of kindness, compassion, hard work, inclusive leadership and perseverance, aka Maddie Mentality. We look forward to giving back to the community each year with scholarships, facility upgrades and opportunities for individuals ​with disabilities. #WWMD

The Maddie Potts Foundation was started in order to carry on the legacy and memory of a healthy, young, female athlete, taken acutely from this world at the age of 17. Maddie exemplified all attributes that a student athlete should possess. She always led by example, and dedicated her free time to helping her teammates, fellow art students and all others around her to be the very best they could be. She stood up for and reached out to new students/teammates that were not as likely to be able to stand up for themselves. She was often referred to as “my very first friend at Chariho,” or at her Speed and Agility Training group, Higher Level, LLC. Her humility spoke for itself as she always tried to keep the spotlight off of her and instead directed it to her team, coaches or friends. Her year round work ethic as a 3 sport athlete, honor student and member of VAASA ( Varsity Athletes Above Substance Abuse) is unsurpassed by any her age. To quote her athletic director, “She just had a way with the kids on her team. They idolized her. They looked at her like she was a superhero - like she was Wonder Woman. Any time we went into any game, no matter who the other team had, our girls would be like ‘Well, we have Maddie Potts.’”

Maddie was also very active in the Kidsgrow Community Garden that was started and run by her father. They have donated over 20,000 pounds of produce to local food banks and homeless shelters over the past 17 years. She worked with her mom in fundraising for cancer awareness and treatments, and was also very interested in opening a dog rescue, one of the many things she was taken from and too young to accomplish.

All donations will go directly into the foundation to give back to athletics, art and other areas near and dear to Maddie’s heart, with scholarships and annual awards. Her family is hoping that one day they will raise enough funding to build “The Maddie Potts Fieldhouse and Indoor Practice Facility.” Maddie lived by the focus and importance of team building and practice every bit as much as game day. The Foundation will also continue to emphasize the importance of “paying it forward”, anonymously, strictly as it is the right thing to do to help others. Again, Maddie was never about her own recognition, only about making others around her better.

So visit the page of nominee Maddie Potts Foundation to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And get a feel for who Maddie was from her teammates and coaches in this touching and inspirational video:

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Spotlight on nominee Sea Change Partnership

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nominee Sea Change Partnership

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Sea Change Partnership, nominated by donor jennagwaltney. Sea Change Partnership work directly with the Outer Banks Latino community to promote education and encourage cross-cultural understanding. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Sea Change Partnership

The Wave of Partnership

Sea Change Partnership works directly with the Outer Banks Latino community to promote education and encourage cross cultural understanding.

Our current priorities are to:

  • Teach multi-level adult ESL classes
  • Communicate through personal YouTube videos
  • Create a bilingual cookbook of original Latino recipes

Our mission is to:

  • Contribute to partnerships with civic and nonprofit organizations within our community
  • Create family awareness of the importance of education and social engagement
  • Nurture resilience in our families by identifying and building on existing strengths
  • Share strategies for teaching English Learners with teachers, tutors, and volunteers
  • Organize special cultural events to foster cross cultural interaction
  • Provide additional learning opportunities for the entire family

So visit the page of nominee Sea Change Partnership to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And spend a few minutes watching their introductory video, where a sibling team of community members interview their leaders about the origins of Sea Change Partnership. (Love the flashlight microphone!)

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Spotlight on nominee Let Them Play

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nominee Let Them Play

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Let Them Play, nominated by donor Elinora. Let Them Play grant funds for equipment, scholarships, even bus passes for transportation, to local and national organizations that empower play. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Let Them Play

97% of public schools do not have everyday PE.

Many of these schools, particularly in urban environments, don’t host outdoor recess. 67% of children don’t participate in after school sports, many for a lack of resources.

Only one in three children is physically active everyday.

This had to change. Calling on their network of professionals, mentors and friends, and standing on the shoulders of giants, the Byrnes family created the Let Them Play Foundation.

In their inaugural year, they distributed over 30 grants ranging in value from $500 to $5,000, to local and national organizations that empower play: Baseball, Running, Cross-Fit, Squash, Dance, Tennis, Swimming, Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer and more... Groups like Girls on the Run, PACE (Police Athletic and Community Engagement) in Omaha, Playworks nationwide, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Philly Stars... all offering not only sport, but a place to belong and grow, to empower and strengthen.

The majority of the grants were hand delivered by the Byrnes family as they roadtripped across the country. Because they felt it was important to “show, not just tell,” Eric swam from San Francisco to Oakland, biked from Oakland to Chicago, and ran from Chicago to New York City. They hosted 15 events over the 57-day period at different minor and major league ballparks, culminating at the steps of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, escorted by NYPD and greeted by hundreds of kids and coaches from New York City and beyond.

So visit the page of nominee Let Them Play to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this 4 minute trailer for the Let Them Play documentary about Eric's amazing cross-country triathalon to deliver funds and raise awareness about the importance of physical activity for our youth:

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Spotlight on nominee Tahirih Justice Center

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nominee Tahirih Justice Center

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Tahirih Justice Center, nominated by donor Honus. Tahirih Justice Center protect courageous immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence by providing pro bono legal and social services. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Tahirih Justice Center

Direct Services

We provide free immigration, family, and civil legal services, as well as a connection to vital social services, so our clients can rebuild their lives in safety.

Policy Advocacy

We engage in national and local policy advocacy, elevating our clients’ voices and transforming laws and policies to foster lasting social change.

Training & Education

We educate thousands of professionals every year to create a community better able to respond to the unique needs of immigrant women and girls.

So visit the page of nominee Tahirih Justice Center to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And please take 5 minutes to watch this moving video about their important work:

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Spotlight on nominee APOPO

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nominee APOPO

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee APOPO, nominated by donor Stephanie. APOPO train rats to save lives, addressing global issues like landmines and tuberculosis through R&D and deployment of scent detection technology. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee APOPO

For 20 years APOPO’s scent detection rats have been detecting landmines and tuberculosis. Learn more about our work and how you can help.

The Problem

Over 60 countries are contaminated with hidden landmines and other explosive remnants of war, that cause tragic accidents and hamper communities from developing their productive land.

Meanwhile, slow and inaccurate detection methods make tuberculosis the world’s most deadly infectious disease. 10 million new people contract TB every year, 3 million go undiagnosed, and 1.8 million die from the disease.

The Solution

The APOPO scent detection rats, nicknamed 'HeroRATs', help to rid the world of landmines and tuberculosis, returning safe land back to communities for development, and freeing people from serious illness so they can get back on their feet.

So visit the page of nominee APOPO to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this short video explaining the timeliness of this nomination, now that it's 2020, the Year of the (Hero)Rat!

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January 2020 winner Gifts of Hope Unlimited

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Charitocracy's 41st check to January winner Gifts of Hope Unlimited for $1088

We have good news about January winner Gifts of Hope Unlimited, right after this quick update...

Newsflash

This just in: Benj retired from his day job yesterday.

It's the same as quitting, but without the connotation of ill will or dissatisfaction on either side. There's no presumption of leaving for greener pastures at another company. The fact is, I'm still in love with my former employer, the work I was doing there, and all the colleagues with whom I shared the experience. Instead retirement comes with the implied acknowledgement of one's mortality and time being of the essence. I feel that urgency every day.

This is a weird day, my first day unemployed in a long long time. Thanks for giving me the best reason to take this leap of faith: Charitocracy. Without you, it would just be a cool idea with $0 grants going out each month. Now I'll have more time to spend growing Charitocracy, giving it the closer attention it desperately needs!

January 2019 winner Gifts of Hope Unlimited

Last night we named Charitocracy's 41st monthly winner. Congratulations to Gifts of Hope Unlimited, nominated by donor Marthaek. They support and assist individuals affected by relationship violence gain access to resources for a safe and empowered future. You can find their web page here.

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Gifts of Hope Unlimited. ❤️

Have a great February and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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December 2019 winner No Kid Hungry

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Charitocracy's 40th check to December winner No Kid Hungry for $1048

We have good news about December winner No Kid Hungry, right after this quick update...

Hindsight 2020

Looking back at 2019 from this futuristic sounding year of 2020, I see 12 thoughtfully selected, well-deserving causes receiving our group donations totaling over $18,000. I see Charitocracy crossing the $50,000 milestone in total grants to date. In the website I see incremental improvements, tearing down the "pay wall" and making social sharing easier. But I also see an endless struggle to attract more donors...

I'll write a dedicated blog post about it within the next month or so, but for now a cryptic teaser: 2020 will be a game-changer for Charitocracy. My foresight isn't quite as clear as my hindsight, so I can't promise it will end well. But status quo isn't going to cut it. So watch this space!

December 2019 winner No Kid Hungry

Last night we named Charitocracy's 40th monthly winner. Congratulations to No Kid Hungry, nominated by donor the_fIves. They work to end childhood hunger, and won't be done until every single child in America has the food they need to grow up healthy and strong. You can find their web page here.

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to No Kid Hungry. ❤️

Before you go, check out this quick year-end message from winner No Kid Hungry. Then feel good about your part in our collective $1048+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great January (2020!) and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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November 2019 winner Americans United

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Charitocracy's 39th check to November winner Americans United for $1134

We have good news about November winner Americans United, right after this quick update...

This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! Something for me to be thankful for: last month, we crossed the $50,000 mark. Nicely done, team! I appreciate you. Big time.

I'll keep it really simple and ask you to do one thing between now and Tuesday. Convince someone, anyone, just one person, to join Charitocracy. A friend, family member, partner in business, partner in life, partner in crime, complete stranger sharing your table at a coffee shop. Your best friend, your only friend, your frenemy, your nemesis. A mentor, protégé, magician, barista. A brother, sister, half, step, in-law, twin separated at birth. A pet that inherited your great-aunt's fortune. (Don't ask me, these are your people.)

Just log in and invite them over email or social media:

invite popups

One more donor at Charitocracy means one more new voice in our nomination and election process, and more dollars to share with the next year full of monthly winning charities. Amplify your impact!

November 2019 winner Americans United

Last night we named Charitocracy's 39th monthly winner. Congratulations to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, nominated by donor jzp-charitocracy. They are an organization dedicated to advancing the separation of religion and government as the only way to ensure freedom of religion. You can find their web page here.

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Americans United. ❤️

Before you go, check out this simple holiday message from winner Americans United. Then feel good about your part in our collective $1134+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great December and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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Spotlight on nominee RIP Medical Debt

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nominee RIP Medical Debt Charitocracy Facebook share

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee RIP Medical Debt, nominated by donors Alistair and Rebecca. RIP Medical Debt empower donors to forgive the billions in oppressive medical debt at pennies on the dollar, so far $715 million for ~240,000 Americans. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee RIP Medical Debt

We work on behalf of individuals, foundations and corporations to abolish medical debt and provide relief for those in need.

How It Works

  1. Your donations allow us to purchase debt at pennies on the dollar — and forgive it, forever.
  2. Using data analysis, we locate the medical debt that is most crucially in need of relief.
  3. Those helped are no longer obligated to pay even a cent, and have no adverse consequences.

As medical costs rise to unspeakable levels, so does un-payable medical debt.

Medical debt has destroyed the financial stability of large segments of America’s most vulnerable communities: the sick, the elderly, the poor, and veterans. It also particularly targets the middle class, driving many families who are barely getting along into poverty.

So visit the page of nominee RIP Medical Debt to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to hear him explain it best.

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Fifty thousand reasons

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Fifty thousand reasons

Fifty thousand reasons... for what?

Fifty thousand reasons it's hard to run a charity?
Fifty thousand reasons to complain about solicitation registration paperwork?
Fifty thousand reasons to decry social media advertising costs?
Fifty thousand reasons to give up?

This morning I'm writing out Reach Out and Read's $1722 award check. That's for winning the October monthly pot, plus drawing an unusually high $540 worth of "pot sweetener" one-time donations. And I'm noticing something worth mentioning...

We have crossed the $50,000 mark!

As of this morning, Jessica and I have cut $50,000 worth of grant checks. They're for worthy nonprofits you've selected, packed full of your donation funds. You guys are ever-generous, and also gift us with the continued motivation to make Charitocracy even better each month.

I have some big plans for Charitocracy. I probably say that a lot, and I mean it every time. There's no joy like adding new features, fixing old bugs, and doing whatever I can to make Charitocracy easier to use for current donors and more attractive to prospective donors. If you asked me, a GPU software engineer, ten years ago or even five years ago, I never would have predicted this is how I'd be getting my kicks on the eve of the year 2020.

And yet 4 years ago this week we were registering the charitocracy.org domain and kicking off the logo design. We were setting up social media pages, and purchasing this laptop I've been banging away on ever since in my free time. And 4 years ago next month we'd be filing to become a nonprofit corporation in the state of North Carolina. As far as we've come in 4 years (3 years fully operational), I have a feeling 2020 will be our biggest yet.

Fifty thousand reasons to be proud, and fifty thousand reasons to keep at it. ❤️

Show Benj the money

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