Giving Gets Direct:

We all hit snags in life.

Your car won’t start. Your child starts school and needs uniforms and school supplies. Most of us have some sort of financial safety net. But when you’re a working single mom with two young children and you can’t pay for your bus pass, well, that could derail you.

Seeing how much the little things can make the difference between success and failure is what spurred Megan Kashner of Evanston to launch, a website that allows donors to give for a one-time specific need.

“We help people get over that bump in the road — whether they need a pair of glasses, or a winter coat, or a laptop so their child can do homework,” says Founder and CEO Kashner. “We make a personal connection.”

The easy-to-use website features photos of the low-income people who tell their stories in a video clip. They explain why they need a specific item, and how much the item costs. Car repairs, a child’s car seat, contact lenses — whatever the specific need, each story comes to from a nonprofit who knows that person and verifies the person and the need. Validators are clearly listed by name. The need is listed on Then, it’s up to you.

“Our average donation is $49,” says Kashner.

The donations add up, and the website shows the progress. Once the entire amount has been donated, sends the funds as a grant to the nonprofit. Then, it’s up to the agency to procure the item and report back to When you donate, you get updates with notes from the person whose need you supported, and from the validators, sometimes with photos of the need fulfilled.

Simple? Yes. Efficient? Absolutely. As individuals face singular challenges on the road to working, getting an education and standing on their own two feet, can connect donors to that individual in the most personal way — as Aleca Tesseris Sullivan of Evanston,’s Resource Development person puts it, “giving with connection.”


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