HandUp is a tech startup with a social mission. We’ve created a new way to donate directly to homeless people and people in need here in the US. Starting in San Francisco, we’ve partnered with with some of the most well-respected homeless service organizations to deliver new resources to the thousands of homeless and at risk people in our community.
Co-founder & CEO
Co-founder & CTO
UX & Community
HandUp is a direct giving system for homeless people and neighbors in need. It allows you to donate directly to a HandUp member via text message and web donations. 100% of your donation to members goes straight to their HandUp accounts. Members can use their HandUp credits for basic needs like food, clothing, and medical care through our partner organizations.
We work with some of the most well-respected homeless service organizations in the Bay Area. HandUp partners sign up their homeless and at-risk members for HandUp and then help these members redeem their HandUp donations for basic needs like food, clothing, and medical care. They also connect HandUp members to other resources such as food stamps, general assistance or housing workshops to help them get ahead. You can learn more about our HandUp Partners on our Partner page.
Thanks for your interest! Please send us a note and let us know where you are. We’re currently based in San Francisco but plan to expand HandUp across the country. If you represent a nonprofit organization that you think might be a fit to partner with HandUp, please fill out a Partner Interest Form.
Yes! 100% of your donation directly funds the basic needs of the person you choose. HandUp covers our operations expenses separately. We even cover the credit card processing fees so that every cent of your donation directly funds the member’s basic needs. We give donors the choice to contribute to HandUp's operations, and most donors do, but this is optional.
Donations are transferred directly to our partner organizations for the purpose of covering the cost of the chosen member’s stated basic needs. Members with a feature phone or email access will receive a text and/or email notification of your donation (along with any words of support that you might send). They work with the partner organization’s staff to redeem donations for the specific item or service that they need. For example, staff may work with members to order winter boots through Amazon.com, pay phone bills online, or send a check for a security deposit.
We let our members decide how they want to use their funds, but members are not given cash. Instead, donations are transferred directly to our partner organizations. Members work with the partner organization’s staff to redeem their donations to meet their specific goals and needs. Partners track all purchases using HandUp’s internal accounting system, so every cent of your donation is accounted for.
100% of every donation made on HandUp directly funds the basic needs of the person you choose. We let donors opt-in a support fee to contribute to the company's operations and growth, and about 90% of donors choose to do so. We also get support from corporate partners. As a tech platform with a scalable model, we are in a unique position to be able to maintain low overhead and operational costs as we grow.
Currently, no. But we’re looking into offering tax deductions for the future.
Only your first name is publically associated with your donation unless you check the "Donate Anonymously" box when making a donation. When you reply to a member update your first name is always shared. Your other personal data including last name, email, and phone are kept strictly private.
The privacy and dignity of our members is extremely important to us. It’s important to us that every member posted on HandUp understands what HandUp is and how it works. Our Partners are responsible for ensuring that every member understands HandUp, explicitly wishes to participate in the program, and is presented in a dignified light. Members with privacy concerns are given the option to create a profile under a pseudonym and/or use an alternate image in place of their picture.
The HandUp team is lead by founders Rose Broome and Zac Witte. They came up with the mobile donation system in Nov 2012 after Rose walked passed a homeless woman sleeping on Market St. on a cold night and thought there must be a more effective way to help.
Rose and Zac were connected to another group with a similar idea, including Barry Roeder and Doniece Sandoval. Rose and Barry worked on HandUp as early co-founders establishing a partnership with Project Homeless Connect and gaining entrance to the Tumml urban incubator program. Barry and Doniece continue their work in the Homeless community with their projects including Lavamae and Bridge.
Rose and Zac incorporated HandUp PBC in August 2013 as a Delaware public benefit corporation. The HandUp pilot was launched on August 14th at Project Homeless Connect's 50th anniversary event.
The HandUp logo was designed by Nate Kerksick.
A public benefit corporation is a for-profit business structure similar to a C corporation that includes a social mission as part of the legal foundation of the company. This allows for both a high growth business model and a high impact social mission. At HandUp, we believe in applying the power of the for-profit business model to solving global challenges like urban poverty. We also believe that our mission is the key to our success, which is why we incorporated as a Delaware PBC. Learn more here.