Monday, November 18, 2019


This is a very different kind of post. I hope you will read it and give it serious consideration.


If you knew a kid down the street had a simple need, say she needed sneakers for school, chances are you’d help, right? But, it’s hard to know the needs of real people in your community because there’s never been a way to connect people who could really use help with people who want to offer it. Enter the app Purposity. Its name comes from combining the words 'purpose + generosity,' and it’s designed to connect the individual needs of people near you in your neighborhood, community or city.

“We live in an age when we can make a doctor’s appointment right from our phone,” said founder Blake Canterbury, adding, “but we have no way of knowing if the family down the street has food on its table or if their children have shoes on their feet.” Purposity looks to bridge that gap locally.

Canterbury believes the app is a new way to invite people to engage with their neighbors, directly meeting their most pressing needs, and ultimately building better, and stronger communities. “We’re creating a movement for good and a completely new model of living, starting at the hyperlocal level. By supporting the systems of well-established nonprofits, engaging neighbors to join us, real change can occur in communities with better long-term solutions for all.”

Purposity is a not-for-profit app that connects the physical needs of people, vetted through established local nonprofits, with locals who want to help through just a few clicks. The app supports the work of local schools and nonprofits, enabling them to quickly and easily meet the needs of their students and clients.

For example, a brother and sister were both falling asleep in class because they were sleeping on the floor. Through Purposity, people gave items priced $15 to $110 to help give the brother and sister duo a place to sleep, providing everything from sheets to the bed themselves. And one of the best parts of Purposity: Once a need is filled, that giving opportunity is closed. It makes people feel like they’ve really accomplished something.

This is how the app works: A donor reads a student’s story and then foots the bill for a requested item. Purposity buys it and mails it to the Education Department, which gets it to the student. Identities and personal information are protected and donations are tax-deductiblePurposity is underwritten by sponsoring businesses so there is no charge for the services and no fees are taken out of a donor’s contribution.

“The app asks you if you want to set a donation goal for the year," Portner said. You can say I want to meet three needs or 12 needs, that’s optional.”
“We know people want to do good, but they don’t know where to start. This app gives you opportunities to do good in the simplest and easiest way possible in your community. And you can really make an impact with small donation amounts,” Canterbury said. He and his team at Purposity already have proved the concept: They launched Purposity as a web-based platform in targeted cities and communities, including Atlanta, Denver and Nashville over the past two years. 

People who opt in receive a weekly text message with a link that takes them to a current need in their community. They can choose to meet that need in under two minutes from their phone. The app aims to streamline this process, allowing users to make an impact even faster.

The app has also attracted the attention of local public schools – and has been able to help meet over 8,000 needs nationally, including, among others, Atlanta, Denver and Honolulu. 

“This app is a place for people to know where to start to do good, to feel like they can make meaningful differences,” said Canterbury. “We’re excited where this could lead. It opens up so many possibilities. Every kid should have food on their table, clothes on their back. Purposity gives people a way to help solve huge, long-term issues simply by starting in their own communities.”

Purposity is available in both Apple and Android apps.