I would like to introduce you to CommuniGift. I had the privilege of sitting down with Co-Founder Thomas Doochin to learn about this new way of gift-giving that’s launching in Charlotte. This new user friendly gift-giving platform makes it easy (and rewarding) to give to low income children right here in our community. According to the 2010 US Census, the percentage of children living in poverty in Mecklenburg County alone is 21.2%. CommuniGift provides a bridge to these children in need.
CommuniGift is a birthday invitation and gift-purchasing platform that enables a child to invite guests to attend their birthday party and send a gift to a low income child that has been selected by the birthday host. Party guests can purchase the gifts online while they RSVP through CommuniGift. The recipients of the birthday gifts (a.k.a. the “birthday buddy”) are identified by local Charlotte nonprofits who also select the gifts to ensure a strong balance of educational items and age appropriate toys.
There are 18 million kids’ birthday parties in the US every year, and it’s CommuniGift’s goal to bring a whole new meaning to these celebrations. It has been proven that people are happiest when they’re helping others, and this gift giving platform makes it so easy to do–in a manner in which kids can understand. Another benefit for the host parent is they aren’t left with a heap of presents that their child ultimately will not use or need. The birthday party guests have an easy way to purchase gifts that doesn’t require running around town on the day of the party. Most importantly, CommuniGift provides the birthday host with a meaningful and rewarding giving experience while providing birthdays for children who normally go without.
The CommuniGift founders were all raised in the south and attended school at Chapel Hill (some of them are still finishing their senior year). After a pilot launch in LA, the founders are ready to grow with North Carolina–especially Charlotte. Prior to officially having birthday buddies in Charlotte, one family heard of CommuniGift and hosted the first North Carolina CommuniGift Birthday. The response from the party attendees was overwhelming, and six more CommuniGift birthdays were hosted in the next month.
CommuniGift has shared some beautiful success stories on Facebook and Instagram and can only expect more of these amazing accounts. During one girl’s four year old birthday party, 13 birthdays were sponsored for children in need. As you can expect, some kids are hesitant to give up their gifts, but when they do, they end up having their best birthday yet. We underestimate how much our own kids benefit from giving back.
CommuniGift is excited to offer Charlotte Smarty Pants readers a special opportunity to join the Charlotte Charter Members Club. The first 300 who sign up will receive a $25 game card to Sports Connection, early access to the platform, and will be designated as a charter member on the CommuniGift site and on their party invitations. To date, over 50 people have already signed up to use the platform. And remember, this platform can be used for birthday celebrations of all ages.