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Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy 2nd B'Day to the Benevolent Idea

Comic Depiction of the Benevolent Idea.
The earliest visual depiction
of the Benevolent concept
Can you believe it’s been two years since I woke up with the idea for Benevolent? Yep. It was February 13th, 2011. Hard to believe that a half-formed idea that was born on a random Sunday morning in a sleepy-headed state has blossomed into today’s Benevolent.

When I look back on my early thoughts and sketches (I really can’t draw, so I used comic software to create storyboards), I am amazed at what it’s taken to get here, what the road ahead looks like, and how many people have been and continue to be a part of Benevolent’s infancy and youth.

So today, I’d like to take a moment and pause to say “thank you.”
  • Thank you to those who believed in this idea in its earliest days and encouraged me to pursue it.
  • Thank you to my amazing team of staff, volunteers, pro bono do-ers and advisors, Benevolent’s board, advisory board, kitchen cabinets, and friends.
  • Thank you to those visionary and trusting nonprofit partners who took a chance on this new idea when we had no track record and nothing to prove we could deliver.
  • Thank you to those who have stepped up to support Benevolent’s birth and development.
  • Thank you to those who came forward, eager to help someone else in this new way; and a special thanks to those who took an additional step and sent a note of encouragement to the people you were choosing to help.
  • Thank you to the bravest of the brave, the determined people who shared their stories, their challenges, and their dreams with us and invited us in to be a part of their progress.

You may have noticed that we can’t seem to keep needs posted to the site these days. People out there in the world can’t believe that we’re actually in a situation where the desire of people to give is out-stripping the pace at which we can get needs up onto the site. We post them; people keep coming back to check the site and contribute; and the needs are filled. It’s a great problem to have because it shows clearly that this is a way that people are excited to give and engage. You all are pioneers in this new-fangled way of lifting our neighbors toward their goals.

Now we on the Benevolent team get to do the work necessary to get more and more needs up on the site; engage more nonprofit partners to let their clients know the help is available; and expand the model to more cities.

So what are we actually doing back here behind the Benevolent curtain? We’re working on expanding to three new cities in an intensive way over the coming months. When we expand, we’ll be focusing on forging partnerships with excellent nonprofits, learning as we go, and improving what we do so that it’s easier and easier for everyone to engage – nonprofits, people who are facing challenges, and people who want to give.

For now, then, know that we’re here in the Chicago area, working on hiring excellent people, raising essential money, and making critical improvements so that we can achieve our dream of becoming national and providing a resource to allow people to connect, give and get help in ways that they couldn’t before.

Thanks for believing in us and thanks to all those who have been a part of making the first two years of the Benevolent concept so groundbreaking and thrilling.

- megan kashner, founder & ceo