Monday, December 3, 2007

“Modest Needs”: A Web-Based Approach to Unexpected Bills

I’m intrigued by an unusual charity I found surfing the blogosphere. Modest Needs works with low-income individuals facing a bill they simply cannot pay — typically a utility bill, car repair, or medical expense. The organization screens applications for help with one-off financial emergencies, and posts the need on their web site. Visitors can then make a contribution to Modest Needs toward a specific individual’s expense. When the requested amount is funded, Modest Needs sends a check directly to the utility, insurance company, etc. (not to the individual). The screening process is rigorous, contributions are tax-deductible (the group is a 501(c)(3) charity), and thanks to an external grant that covers their operating expenses, Modest Needs is currently able to use 100% of contributions for the designated applicant.

Today’s mitzvah: check out Modest Needs and see if this kind of contribution is right for you.

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