Alex Budak got the idea for StartSomeGood while living in India (be sure to ask Alex about the rat temple when you talk to him). The poverty he saw there was unlike anything he’d previously experienced and he realized that he needed to be a part of the solution. With an Undergraduate Degree from UCLA and an MPP from Georgetown University he was ready to make something happen.
The real epiphany he’d had was that a few large organizations would never have the breadth to deal with all of the problems he was seeing, meaning that the world needed a catalyst to help people create many new organizations to tackle individual problems.
Alex met his partner, Tom Dawkins, while working at Ashoka.
Together, they are making a mark on the world. Their one-year old web service, StartSomeGood, has helped dozens of new social project, venture and not-for-profits raise money to do some good in the world. Some are one-time projects and others are launching organizations to really have an impact.
Typically, a company will raise just a few thousand dollars on the SSG site, but one group, The Do Good Bus, was able to raise over $100,000 on the site. Traveling with the band, Foster the People, a busload of volunteers went from city to city tackling service projects everywhere they went. The money raised on the site provided the funds for the bus and travel expenses.
A group of high school students calling themselves the “Oakland Dons” raised just over $1,000 to create a program to encourage people to eat a more healthy diet. They were able to negotiate discounts from health food stores for those most at risk and then provided the coupon books to them free of charge. Others could purchase the coupon books as well.
While SSG is often called a “crowd-funding” source, Alex suggests the label “peer funding” better describes what they do. SSG provides a vehicle for people to get their existing community to participate in their new social venture.
So, that’s how Alex and Tom are making their mark on the world. How will you make yours?