Can Silicon Valley Beat Poverty With Crowdfunding?

Benevolent, a crowdfunding site that helps economically needy individuals pay for one-time items they need to work, is expanding beyond a Chicago beta into several additional markets including Detroit and Silicon Valley.

While Silicon Valley tech workers are well compensated, the tech industry has brought many transient workers to San Jose, where the cost of living is 50 percent higher than the national average. About 11 percent of the city’s population falls below the national poverty line.

The platform, founded in 2011 by Megan Kashner, uses crowdfunding to enable individuals to make small donations, averaging $50, to help cover smaller, one-time needs that are often not covered by government programs, such as eyeglasses, work uniforms, transit passes and computers. An average campaign raises $470.

Benevolent’s Silicon Valley expansion is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

crowdfunding, social media, social networks, micro-lending

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Social Media 201

Social Media 201Starting October 13Social Media 201 picks up where Social Media 101 left off, to provide you with hands-on instruction for gaining likes, followers, retweets, favorites, pins, and engagement. Social media experts will teach you how to make social media marketing work for your bottom line and achieving your business goals. Register now!