Summit County nonprofits partner with 1 Degree platform to offer a one-stop shop for services
The service was funded through a $320,000 donation from Frisco resident Paul Finkel
Thanks to a generous local donor, Summit County community members are now able to access various nonprofit services easier through a platform called 1 Degree. The platform compiles most local nonprofits and their services into one user-friendly database that helps community members learn about and find resources more easily.
The Summit Foundation’s program manager Tara Dew described it as a Yelp for nonprofits.
The service, which is now live, has been a year in the making. It all started with Frisco resident and longtime Summit County local Paul Finkel, who reached out to the leaders of several nonprofits, including the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, Summit Community Care Clinic, Keystone Science School, Education Foundation of the Summit, Summit Habitat for Humanity, The Summit Foundation and St. Anthony Summit Hospital.
Finkel said he was looking to donate about $300,000 for tax reasons and that he wanted the money to go to a special project or initiative that focused on front-line workers and community members.
“For me, it was a project that was going to help the people that need services, whether it’s mental health, rent assistance or anything else, and those are the people that I want to help in this county because they are the ones that keep me here,” he said.
When the leaders of these organizations began meeting, they kept coming back to one idea. Dew pointed out that when some individuals look for housing, they might also need assistance with child care or employment. If all of those resources were housed in one place, it would make navigating and accessing them that much more convenient.
“This group of leaders started meeting regularly and discussing what kind of project that we could come up with that would really help make a difference for our local families,” Dew said. “We just kept landing on this idea that we have so many nonprofit services in the community … (and they’re) doing an incredible job in filling the gaps that exist for (community members), but what we were missing was just a central place to really find and access all of those resources.”
Ellen Reid, executive director of the Keystone Science School, said the new platform could be a game-changer in that it can be updated and added to frequently and is likely to evolve in the future.
“Having a resource guide that is able to be updated in real time and pretty quickly is one of the reasons we wanted to push this project forward,” Reid said. “All of the resource guides that we’ve had have been paper. Or we thought about a website, (but) who’s going to update it? That’s why this really resonated for us as we were looking at some options.”
Finkel said he was enthusiastic about the idea when the team initially suggested it to him.
“I’d always been pushing various nonprofits to collaborate with each other, and this did it,” he said. “They came up with a project that didn’t necessarily help their own organization but helped the community, and while they knew each other … they’re now able to work together better than they ever had before. That was a byproduct of the project.”
Finkel isn’t new to the nonprofit arena. He has spent his retirement living in Summit County full time since 1998 and has since given about $2.5 million in the past 10 years through various funds and entities. A majority of that money has stayed in the county and has been given to various nonprofits.
Finkel said when he donates, he usually wants the money to go toward some kind of special project or initiative.
“I tend to fund special projects, and I tend to look for unusual projects, especially startups where most organizations can’t get grants for a brand new idea,” Finkel said.
That’s one of the reasons this project resonated with him. A project like this requires the collaboration of multiple organizations, and sometimes that makes it difficult to get funding.
Finkel ended up donating about $320,000 to cover the launch of the platform, and Dew, along with Reid and Nissa Erickson, development director for the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, led the charge in compiling the information of more than 700 nonprofits and getting the information uploaded onto the site.
So why 1 Degree? Reid said the platform — which is run by a nonprofit by the same name in San Francisco — is one of a few in the country that offers a hosting system for nonprofits. According to the organization’s website, the goal is to get nonprofits and charities operating just as efficiently and as advanced as major tech companies like Google and Amazon.
The project took about a year to complete and launch. The site went live Monday, Oct. 4, and it can be read in English or Spanish. All nonprofits fall under at least one of the nine categories: urgent, family and household, food, health, housing, education, legal, employment and money. In addition to the site, individuals can access the platform via its app that can be downloaded from the Google or Apple app stores. The service is free to use and will be managed by the resource center’s navigation team.
Visit 1Degree.org and type in “Summit County” to access and learn about the community’s various services.
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