Green Lake Based NonProfit PROVIDE NOW Finds Unique Way To Help Others
Non profits across the region are feeling the pressure as more and more people reach out for essential services and supplies due to economic hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We recently learned of two local women who launched a non profit earlier this year to help those in need. Their non profit is called Provide Now and it has roots right here in Green Lake. Here’s our conversation with co-founder and Green Lake resident Alex Taylor.
Seattle Greenlaker: How is Provide Now different than other nonprofits?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now creates gifts-in-kind donation registries; we list items that charities need and donors can purchase listed items for those charities. Our mission is to promote transparent donations of material items to equip nonprofits and communities with the resources necessary to thrive.
Seattle Greenlaker: You mentioned you launched during COVID. Was this because you saw a need during this time of COVID-19 or had it been planned to launch previously?
Alex Taylor: We saw a need during the time of COVID-19. Our thought process was, “We can stand around and do nothing OR we can launch imperfectly and try and make a difference.” So, we decided to change our initial structure and in March set our website up as a crowdfunding platform that we kept open until the end of May. In July we re-launched our nonprofit as our intended gifts-in-kind platform.
Seattle Greenlaker: Can you tell me more about the Marketplace you launched within Provide Now?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now is similar to Amazon’s Wish List registry except there are a few major differences that set us apart:
- Provide Now does not make money off of the items that we list on our website. 100% of the purchase a donor makes is used to purchase that intended item. Provide Now only makes money through additional donations and grant funding.
- Provide Now is a 501c3 so any items purchased on our website are tax-deductible.
- Provide Now tries to source as many of the products as possible from local vendors (e.g. we only source our animal products from All the Best and Pet Pros, both Pacific Northwest-based companies), minority and women-owned businesses (The Honey Pot), USA manufactured, or items that use organic material (Maggie’s Socks)
- Lastly, we work closely with our associated organizations to determine drop-off days. Many nonprofits and government agencies have limited space available for housing in-kind donations, so Provide Now tries to do larger drop-offs to reduce their administrative work. This means less time spent on filing paperwork for the gift-in-kind donations and instead of getting those items to the people (or animals).
Seattle Greenlaker: Can you tell me about your Green Lake connection?
Alex Taylor: Gigi and I met at the University of Washington in 2009 (not too far from Green Lake) and during my time in college, I would run the inner-loop during the spring and summer.
My husband and I just moved to Green Lake this past November. Every week, Gigi and I meet at my house as our “work station.”
Seattle Greenlaker: What are your plans for the future?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now would like to expand its reach of the nonprofits and community organizations as well as increase our donorship.
Seattle Greenlaker: Anything else you think we should know?
Alex Taylor: Here at Provide Now, we really believe that a lot of small impacts can lead to a big difference. If 100 people came together and each person purchased a pair of wool socks, 100 people experiencing homelessness would have a better chance at keeping their feet dry and infection-free this winter.
We wanted to make a platform where people could donate in smaller capacity and then see a tangible result. On our Instagram page, we post photos of the items we drop-off to show people that their donation is making a difference. It’s really amazing and powerful to see carts full of donations that individuals made. One small act can truly make such a difference.