Purposity

Donors who respond to Purposity requests for help get a thank you note and a photo of what their donation bought. 

Kyrene School District officials are making a big push to remind people of a unique digital tool they introduced to help district families in need — especially because the mobile app has helped many kids and their families.

Purposity is a mobile app that’s available to anyone living in the district regardless of whether their kids attend Kyrene schools.

Kyrene last year became the first school district in Arizona to adopt Purposity, which matches specific immediate needs for kids or their families with local donors who signed up at purposity.com to meet them.

People who sign up provide their cell number and then are texted by the district through Purposity once a week about particular needs of Kyrene kids that cost up to $250 and are purchased through Amazon.

The item is set up to ship directly to the Kyrene’s district headquarters, where a staffer gets the item to the student.

District social workers and teachers generally identify those needs, although the identities of the recipients are never disclosed.

Purposity also can be used “if a family were to experience a large loss due to a life event like a fire. Purposity will even purchase small furniture items,” according to a district memo.

District spokeswoman Erin Helm said since Purposity was introduced a year ago in the district — the first in Arizona to do so — 123 families with a total 600 different needs were helped.

Of those families, 52 were experiencing homelessness. The families came from all 25 schools in the district, Helm said.

The needs may appear small to many people, but made a huge difference in the lives of the children and families who were helped.

For example, one student got new shoes while a family that lost their home to a fire got household items as they started picking up their lives.

 Other students need clothing — and even bed sheets.

Signing up to give is easy. People enter their mobile number and zip code at purposity.com. 

They will receive a single weekly text alert that a Kyrene student needs an alarm clock, a pair of shoes or “anything else many of us may take for granted,” the district said.

“When Kyrene families face hardship, we know that we can always count on our community to come together to make a difference,” the district said in a message to parents recently. “Your kindness and compassion continue to amaze us.”

Purposity is a Georgia-based digital charity started by an entrepreneur.

“We live in an age when we can make a doctor’s appointment right from our phone,” founder Blake Canterbury told Forbes magazine last fall “but we have no way of knowing if the family down the street has food on its table or if their children have shoes on their feet.” 

He envisioned Purposity to connect people to doing good the way Facebook connects friends and Google connects people to information.

Canterbury, 34, of Atlanta, told Forbes: “We’re creating a movement for good and a completely new model of living, starting at the hyperlocal level. By supporting the systems of well-established nonprofits, engaging neighbors to join us, real change can occur in communities with better long-term solutions for all.”

“We know people want to do good, but they don’t know where to start. This app gives you opportunities to do good in the simplest and easiest way possible in your community. And you can really make an impact with small donation amounts,” Canterbury added.

 After starting it in Georgia two years ago, Purposity’s popularity has spreads across the country.

And it’s not just school districts that are urging its use.

Georgia Power, a utility, uses it as the giving platform for 7,000 employees and also became a major sponsor of Purposity to help fund the nonprofit’s operations.

“This app is a place for people to know where to start to do good, to feel like they can make meaningful differences,” Canterbury told Forbes. “We’re excited where this could lead. It opens up so many possibilities. Every kid should have food on their table, clothes on their back. 

“Purposity gives people a way to help solve huge, long-term issues simply by starting in their own communities.”

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