Our eyes meet, and she asks, “Can you help me today?” I pull some cash out of my pocket – not asking what it is that she needs, only knowing I can give something. I walk away and briefly reflect on what exactly it is that was needed and what the outcome will be for her. Like many of you reading this post, I’ve thought there’s got to be a better way! We should be able to more effectively use technology to bring together caring people to solve social problems.

Today, I’m pleased to tell you about a new directed giving platform just launched in Washington State. Last week I was introduced to Herminia and her family through  Survive the Streets a newly launched initiative that uses the power of the internet to connect local people in need directly with people who want to help. Through her online profile, Herminia told me, “I am so excited to learn that my family will be moving into housing this month. Although I am overjoyed by this opportunity I realized that we do not have enough for our security deposit. I am a single women,1 teen daughter & 2 young adult sons and we are finally getting an apartment but we don’t have any furniture yet so we need some beds.” 

A deeper review of her profile told me that Catholic Community Services of King County had verified her need, reassuring me that my donation would go directly towards the purchase of beds for the family. I was also given the opportunity to “friend” Herminia, which lets me keep up with her progress, seeing how  my support makes a difference in the life of another.

Helping People in Need

Survive the Streets is the life work of Patti Dunn and Michael Grabham, a Seattle couple with hearts of gold and brilliant business acumen. Their journey began their first Thanksgiving in Seattle with too much food on their table. That day they shared their bounty with a couple hungry people in their Eastlake neighborhood… and by 2012 they outfitted 275 men and women for the cold, wet Seattle winter. You can read more about their story here. 

In addition to the launch of its new site being piloted in Washington State, Survive the Streets is kicking off a 30-day crowd-funding campaign on Razoo. Patti shared, “The goal of the campaign is raise $75,000 to innovate Survive the Street’s technology platform, increase awareness through marketing, and to quickly expand nationally by working with local nonprofits and businesses across the U.S. to identify and help those in danger of being homeless.”  See Patti and Michael in the video below to learn more about Survive the Streets model and how you can join the cause.


  1. This is so wonderful!!! Thank you Patti and Michael… And thanks to all those individuals who are donating and helping. God bless…

  2. How can I get involved? I believe that I have been called to serve the comiunty. For as long as I remneber I thought the best way for me was to do this was becoming a police officer. However life committments keep me from doing that. I’ve spent the last 23 years in retail doing dress for success simnars, educating people how dress and build their wordrobe smartly. But there has always been that void, that I there was more that I could do to help. Every time I go down town Seattle…. It brakes my hart when I see these people living this way. I try to make eye contact with most of them because once I was told by a homeless women met while volenteering that most homeless people just are to be seen and not be invisible. I just want help!

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