The wolfpack is always doing something exciting, even in the middle of a quarantine.
Last week, when the United States government began issuing stimulus checks to Americans a group of NC State alumni launched a new website called Pledge My Check. Their goal was to encourage people in stable financial positions to donate all or part of their stimulus checks to help people affected by COVID-19.
Kevin Miller, a Raleigh social entrepreneur and founder, said that right before stimulus checks were sent out he “saw Best Buy advertising $1,200 TVs and thought to [himself]…if people can use their check to buy a TV, how can we try and convince them to turn that money towards doing some good?”
In the first few days of the site’s launch, over $18,000 was pledged from 37 people across 11 states. That was an amazing beginning; however, after Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin retweeted the cause, North Carolina affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC began to pick up the story. The site is now up to $50,000 and counting.
Individuals are encouraged to donate directly to the people, causes, or organizations they support because Pledge My Check is not accepting donations directly so 100% of everyone’s pledges reach their intended recipient.
Similar efforts have launched across the United States supporting a variety of causes, but none have done so on this scale or with the same mission of encouraging donations to all recipients. Currently, Pledge My Check reports that the largest sum of pledges are being directed to local causes, primarily addressing food insecurity through Feeding America’s network of food banks and their affiliated food pantries across the country. It is also wonderful to see that many people are donating directly to waiters, neighbors, and community members.
“The idea is to encourage folks to pledge in a way that is life-giving to them and others,” said Jordan Bowman, another volunteer and soon-to-be alumni who leads a local nonprofit organization. He added, “There is complete freedom in how people pledge but we are encouraging them to consider local causes and to be creative in how they can use this money to support their neighbors, nonprofits, and small businesses.”
It’s difficult not to feel good when you see the amount of generosity the site has on display. One individual, Kirsten, donated $1,200.00 sharing, “My husband and I decided to donate 50% of our total checks. We’ve made monthly gifts to several organizations. These are: Heifer International, UNICEF, The Arts and Science Center of South East Arkansas, Doctors Without Borders.”
Other highlighted organizations people are donating to include: Meals on Wheels, DonorsChoose.org, and GiveDirectly. Organizations can even create their own custom pledge pages to encourage their volunteers and donors to pledge their stimulus checks to their organizations for free.
This entire initiative is the work of a growing volunteer team based out of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. They all have other jobs and obligations but you can hear the energy in their voices. “This project is all about bringing out the best in our communities,” commented another NC State alum and one of the project’s creators, Ryan O’Donnell. He added, “When the stimulus checks were announced, I felt this was a simple way for people to help their neighbors.”
Lead designer, Bethany Faulkner, shared, “I’m fortunate to be in a stable financial situation. I wanted to help, and this stimulus check is an opportunity to redirect that vital financial support to those who need it most in our community. We built this tool to enable that and make it a community effort, even as we’re separated in our own homes.”
We can’t wait to see where these incredible members of the wolfpack continue to take this initiative! A full list of volunteers can be found here.
Consider sharing their story with anyone who might be interested or with any organizations you think would benefit.