HandUp

upstarts handup

Go to HandUp.org -- and be prepared for your problems to feel very, very small.

Walter is raising $1,500 so he can afford housing for himself and his daughter. Tierra is raising $1,700 so she can fix her car and pick her kids up from school. Johanna is raising $2,000 to pay for tuition and complete her AA.

They are just a few of the hundreds of homeless individuals being helped through HandUp. Founded by Rose Broome, 34, and Zac Witte, the crowdfunding site lets people donate directly to individual needs like these.

HandUp works with 15 nonprofit partners in four regions (the Bay Area, Detroit, Wenatchee, Washington, and Corvallis, Oregon). These partners (largely homeless shelters) vet the individuals and evaluate their needs (no cash is ever exchanged).

Since the startup launched in 2013, it's fulfilled over 2,300 requests, totaling nearly $750,000. But Broome has bigger plans -- and a much more inspired definition of success: "When HandUp has scaled across the country helping to end chronic homelessness in the U.S." -- A.R.

First published June 24, 2015: 8:16 AM ET