One year ago, Matthew, Alexandria, Mike and I built a solution to a problem that we wanted to change. How did it start? The goal at the time was not to build a world-class charity. We just wanted to give a few families new homes for the holidays. We thought if we could get them safe homes, then their entire life trajectories would be changed… and that’d be a big deal.
But to do this, it needed to be different than the same traditional charity experiences we all had.
What if we could directly connect donors to the families they’d be giving new lives? And promise that 100% of their donation would go to that family, then send them a video of the family they helped moving into the new home.
The concept was founded on a simple belief: when you give to a cause, you should know exactly who you’re helping, where 100% of your money goes and the end result of your donation. So we built our version of that. And it turns out that… when you make something people want, it grows.
As time went on, we realized we weren’t just funding homes, but we were building whole communities. We learned that homes create communities and communities shape societies — and that’s what we’re on fire to do.
The support, creativity, and passion from what we call the “New Story Family” of donors blew us away. Whether it was a teenager running a birthday campaign, a company getting their employees involved, social media posts, or direct donations… the donors are the heroes of our first year.
Here are the highlights of what happened in year 1:
As of today (December 9th), we’ve raised $1,080,000 for 180 homes. 100% of that money goes to home construction.
We also raised $550,000 from a small group of private donors called “The Builders.” This funds our operating budget for 2016 and is how we’ll grow our team and innovate. This also allows us to send 100% of public donations to the exact families our donors see.
180 Homes Funded
And we’re on pace to hit 200 by the end of December (that’s the big goal!). 151 in Leveque, Haiti. 29 in Nuevo Custcatlan, El Salvador.
900 Life Trajectories Changed
Not only do these families have their lives saved today from the life-threatening conditions they were living in, their entire life trajectories are changed. And not just for them, but for the future generations to come.
Going through Y Combinator was the single biggest reason for our growth. It formed the DNA of New Story and we’re deeply grateful for the extraordinary partners and family at YC.
During Y Combinator, we set a crazy goal to fund “100 Homes in 100 Days” and successfully funded 100 homes in just 91 days.
Finished the Leveque Tent Slum
New Story was founded after a missions trip to the Leveque tent slum. It’s surreal and humbling to know that our donors funded every family in this tent slum and it will no longer exist. See the story.
The slum was transformed into a beautiful, thriving, sustainable community. I get goosebumps thinking about the far-reaching impact it will make on generation 5 generations from now. This Leveque community is defintely New Story’s first love.
Hola El Salvador — Expansión
Two weeks ago, we launched in a new country. This is the next step in our vision to build sustainable communities around the world. Our goal is to fund 90 homes there. See the story.
Strong Board of Advisors
We were fortunate to bring on incredible leaders in tech, venture capital and media. We’re deeply grateful that they want to change trajectories with us. Meet them here.
Word Got Out
To name a few, we were featured in Fast Company, CNN, Tech Crunch, The Huffington Post, and opened the NASDAQ in New York City on live television!
How It Happened
We recently reflected on what we learned and determined the core reasons for making our first year a success. We actually established these reasons to be the core values of New Story:
- Express gratitude and empathy: always go above and beyond to do for others what you’d like them to do for you.
- Think big, break down, execute: set big measurable goals, formulate a plan, then execute the plan with relentless focus.
- Simplify: do more with less. This applies to everything: marketing, design, team meetings, writing, operations, etc.
- Improve through learning: learn why something worked or didn’t work, then implement the learning into future actions.
- Change trajectories: we started by changing a few life trajectories, then a whole community, and then realized we’re trying to change the trajectory of the entire non-profit experience.
- Team of founders: a continual mindset to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
What’s Next — Year 2
We’re finalizing our vision for 2016, but we know there will be a minimum of 500 homes. We’ll also be growing our team! Hiring for marketing, dev, and ops.
If you’re reading this, and you’ve done anything this year to support New Story, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And if you have any questions, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org
Onwards and upwards,