New Online Micro-Charity SmallCanBeBig.Org Helps Families on the Verge of Homelessness Well On Its Way to Helping 100 Local Massachusetts Families In Need Logo Logo
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April 14, 2009 - PRLog -- Waltham, Mass. (4.14.09) – Jennelle D. knows first-hand the devastation of growing up without a stable home.  As a child, her family was torn apart by violence and drug abuse.  Now a young single mother, she is determined to provide her 15-month-old son Treyvon with a different kind of life.  But in this recent economic crisis, hopes and dreams often take a backseat to reality.  Ms. D. found herself unable to make ends meet.  With no assistance in sight, one more family was in danger of becoming a statistic.  That is, until St. Mary's Women and Children's Center recommended them to the new online venture,  

Within a matter of weeks, Jennelle and Treyvon received over 30 donations totaling $2,000 to help get them back on their feet and into a new apartment.  “It inspires me every day,” said Jannelle.  “I hope that [] can help many more families.” is unique in that it’s local, it’s direct and 100% of every donation goes to immediately address a specific expense or urgent bill like rent, utility or medical expenses. Donations provide the specific help necessary to get families back on their feet, so donors know exactly how their donations make a difference.

Their numbers to date are impressive:  Since the site’s launch in mid-January, over 500 donors from 34 states have raised close to $50,000.  Thirty-three Massachusetts families—including 69 children—have been helped.

“We are very excited about the progress we are making, but we have a long way to go. With the current economic environment, there are so many people who need a little extra to get back on their feet” says’s Executive Director, Amanda Zarle.

Convinced that traditional charity models were unable to cope with the fallout of the current financial crisis, John Connors, president of Boathouse Group, set out to establish a new, online charitable-giving venture that enabled donors to directly and immediately come together to help families in need.  “This is the new way for people to directly help local families on the edge, by using the Internet to harness the power of small donations, of which 100% goes directly to support a family’s needs,” says Connors. has partnered with 10 Massachusetts-based charities to leverage their years of frontline experience to identify specific families for whom small donations can make the biggest difference.  The challenges these families face are real and mounting.  “The need has never been greater, and the capacity for each of us to act in an immediate way to stop family homelessness will make such a difference in the lives of our neighbors,” says Judy Beckler, Executive Director of St. Mary's Women and Children's Center, one of the partnering charities.  By pulling the community together, has accomplished some amazing things in their own backyard.  

With state and local emergency aid budgets stretched thin, comes as a welcome relief to local charities.  “[F]or each family that has been funded through, another family is also being helped, as our own homeless prevention fund can be used for them,” reports Kay O'Rourke, Executive Director of Wellspring House, another partner charity.

Self-consciously grassroots in its approach, is using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter over more traditional means.  A dedicated street team made up of employees and outside volunteers routinely makes appearances at local bars, restaurants, shops and community events. will be attending the Volunteer Expo this Thursday, April 16, from 5:30pm—7:30pm at The Shops at Prudential Center.  Sponsored by The Improper Bostonian, more than 50 community groups are expected to attend.

For additional information on, contact Amanda Zarle at or 781-663-6600 or visit

Partner Charities Include
St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center, Homes for Families, HomeStart, The Family-to-Family Project, Wellspring House, Father Bill’s and MainSpring, Travelers Aid Family Services, Project Hope, Crossroads Family Shelter, Brookview House

About Boathouse Group, Inc.
Boathouse Group, Inc. creates communications, campaigns and companies and, in this case, a charitable-giving website. Its clients include: Merrill Lynch, TomTom, Caritas Christi, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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About is an online charitable venture launched in January 2009 that provides a new way for people to directly help local families on the edge by using the Internet to harness the power of small donations.
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Tags:Twitter, Charitable Giving, Online Giving, Microcharity, Micro Philanthropy, Homeless, Help
Industry:Homelessness, Twitter
Location:Waltham - Massachusetts - United States
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