The G-Team is the philanthropic arm of the online marketing site, Groupon. Starting in Chicago and now having expanded to about ten other cities, the G-Team offers local non-profit charities the opportunity to raise money for their cause. Once every week, a charity is spotlighted.
For the Philadelphia area Groupon G-Team, this week’s charity is Hand2Paw. The innovative program conceived by Rachel Cohen, a University of Pennsylvania soon-to-be senior, partners homeless youth who have aged out of foster care with homeless pets in the Philadelphia area. For 72 hours starting June 14, people will have the opportunity to donate to Hand2Paw through Groupon.
The catch is that at least 50 people need to donate. Once that threshold is passed, the deal is on and Hand2Paw gets to keep 100% of all donations. If fewer than 50 people donate, then all donations are returned and the charity doesn’t receive one red cent.
Like the site says, “Unlike traditional Groupon deals, G-Team campaigns typically don’t offer you a ‘discount’ or ‘savings.’ So ‘buyer’ beware — when you click ‘Buy’ to donate your time or money to a worthwhile G-Team cause, the only discount you may receive is 100% off free, priceless karma.”
Rachel told me if the goal is reached and Hand2Paw gets the donations, she will use that money to continue providing paid internships. This will free up the current money in the recently approved non-profit’s bank account to expand into NYC. She is in the process of speaking with different people in NYC, but this move is still only in the planning stages.
In fact, one of the paid internships in Philly recently turned into full time employment for the lucky and dedicated youth. So it certainly seems like the program is working! Paid internships are a fundamental part of Hand2Paw’s mission.
Hugh Organ, Associate Executive Director of Covenant House Pennsylvania — one of the Philadelphia area agencies that work with Hand2Paw — told me in an email that “This program [Hand2Paw] is one of best attended and most sought out volunteer opportunities for our youth. Our kids I feel can relate to the circumstances of the animals as many come from abusive situations and are abandoned by their families.”
“The opportunity to care for the animals helps build their self esteem and gives them [the youth] an opportunity to give back. It also provides them an opportunity to receive some love and affection from an animal that does not judge them and appreciates them,” said Organ.
Care2 members were instrumental in helping Rachel and Hand2Paw win the Students in Service Awards™ this past spring. By voting for Rachel and her pioneering program, they helped Rachel win a $5,000 scholarship and a $2,500 grant for Hand2Paw.
Here is the link for Hand2Paw at Groupon.
Photo of Hand2Paw volunteer with kitten by Ashley Smith, used with permission.