Donation platform gives Chicago renters an easy way to support a local nonprofit

Fri, 2016-08-05 06:00 -- Compassionate C...

There are so many ways today that people who want to help neighbors in need can do so. We wrote recently about a new crowdfunding effort Microsoft and Brazil's professional athletes teamed on to help underprivileged children. And another to build a fleet of Sleep Buses designed to get Australia's homeless off the streets for a good night's sleep. Below is one about owners of Chicago's largest rental community providing a resident donation platform that enables people to pay their rent and at the same time send a few bucks to a local nonprofit. Our hope is that reading about what others are doing will inspire similar compassionate acts. -- Philip Bane


The pilot program at Chicago's Presidential Towers will allow residents of the property, the city's largest rental community with 2,346 apartments, to add a charitable donation to rent payments made via the community’s online resident portal. Waterton, the property owner, intends to match the first $5,000 of resident contributions.

All the proceeds will benefit Cara, a nonprofit that provides job training and placement services to individuals affected by homelessness and poverty.

Waterton has been an active supporter of the organization for more than six years, assisting with mock interviews and other professional development activities designed to prepare students for full-time employment. Cara is also a neighbor of Presidential Towers.

What just $1 a month could do
"Over the years, Cara has helped thousands of Chicagoans struggling with unemployment find quality jobs that, for many, are the first step in turning their lives around," said David Schwartz, co-founder and CEO of Waterton. "Given the sheer size of Presidential Towers, a simple fundraising initiative like this can be extremely impactful. If every resident donated just $1, that would translate to nearly $3,500 a month, or $42,000 annually -- enough to get approximately 100 students through Cara’s foundational training."

Added Holly Jacobson, general manager at Presidential Towers: "This practice has been a success in the retail sector, with shoppers encouraged to make a charitable donation at checkout, so we thought, 'Why not take this same model and apply it to our own industry?'

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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