It’s time I added another favorite do-gooder in the blogosphere to my blogroll, and Keith Taylor, founder of Modest Needs, is the lucky winner. Modest Needs just turned five years old and passed the $1 million dollar mark in grants made to people facing financial challenges that require approximately $1,000 or less to solve, hopefully preventing a slide into deeper poverty.
Modest Needs has been among the most innovative of a new breed of nonprofit organizations (like Kiva, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts) that is serving as an online intermediary between donors and individual beneficiaries. Modest Needs posts requests for support from individuals whose applications have been checked for accuracy by the staff of Modest Needs; donors can then choose which applications to support based on the nature of the challenge that a particular applicant is facing, the community in which an applicant lives, or even the applicant’s initials or some other arbitrary rationale (because, let’s face it, none of us can easily reduce a long list of potential beneficiaries down to the one or two individuals who are “most deserving” of our own modest philanthropy using purely objective criteria). Thousands of online donors have shown that they long for a “direct” connection with the individuals who will benefit from their generosity, even if they don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to give and can’t ask for private tours of a nonprofit’s program sites.
Modest Needs also recently announced a major national partnership with Loews Hotels, which has chosen Modest Needs as its new “Good Neighbor” program partner. This should allow for some significant expansion in the reach of Modest Needs. Keep an eye on this organization; I expect they have more success ahead of them. And subscribe to “Dr. Keith’s” blog for his interesting inside view.