The Collaboratory launches collective gifting platform to disrupt philanthropy

The Collaboratory, Dayton’s civic innovation lab and social venture incubator, has launched its first national initiative, 1Million1s.

1Million1s is an online platform designed to engage Millennials and GenZs in philanthropy. 1Million1s community members commit to monthly donations, starting at just $1 per month. Those gifts are then bundled into one large donation that goes toward whichever Millennial- or GenZ-founded innovative, community-based, non-profit organization that 1Million1s identified that month.

“The long-term goal is twofold, first to engage Millennials and GenZs in terms of their giving, ultimately both money and time, and second, to disrupt traditional philanthropy and bring new voices and resources to the table when it comes to determining what the future of our communities look like,”Peter Benkendorf, Founder & Catalyst of The Collaboratory explained.

1Million1s was conceived and beta tested in the fall of 2018 by Mike Doyle, a 29 year-old Chicago-based, Shark Tank-funded entrepreneur. Doyle came to The Collaboratory for additional resources.

“This is an idea I’ve had for a few years. Lots of my peers want to support nonprofits, but don’t feel that they have the means for their donations to be impactful,” he said. “By building an online community and leveraging collective giving, every dollar really does make a difference.”

The world of nonprofits was new to Doyle. By connecting with The Collaboratory, he was able to leverage their experience building civic brands, their national network of civic innovation resources and their support in the project management process and incubation.

Jän Paul Ostendorf, Brand Strategist at Dayton’s Purpose Branding, worked on the organization’s branding and created the visual identity.

“It is inbred to our human psyche to want to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. 1Million1s is such an endeavor,” Ostendorf said. “I’m excited about its vision and what I believe is its ability to impact and transform a generation into changing the world.“

Anthony Weir, a student at The Modern College of Design in Kettering, created an animated Public Service Announcement that has been integrated in 1Million1s social media.

Weir initially approached Peter seeking freelance work to gain real-world experience. 1Million1s immediately caught his attention.

“I’ve always been intrigued by non-profits and I try to donate to a cause I believe when I have the ability to,” Weir said.

When he was assigned a project to create a public service announcement for his motion graphics class, the choice was simple. He created the PSA and sent it to Peter and Mike as a donation to 1Million1s.

“I was extremely pleased when they contacted me to work with them. As a result, I have been able to get more insight into how the branding and marketing world works,” he said. “If this experience has taught me anything, it has taught me that small donations, even something like my PSA, can really go a long way.”

Roderick D.S. Wheeler, Executive Director of Grassroots Grantmakers in Indianapolis, is providing ongoing counsel and access to a national network of funders and community change agents. Communications and social media management is being handled by national advertising agency Sunny505, headquartered in New Mexico.

“1Million1s has the possibility to completely disrupt how young people think about philanthropy,” Wheeler said. “It is very exciting for us to be involved with this innovative initiative and incredible team.”

As an incubator, The Collaboratory’s goal is to spin out 1Million1s into a freestanding non-profit organization, just as they did with the Dayton Sewing Collaborative, which was conceived that at The Collaboratory in 2014 and became its own non-profit organization in 2017.

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