Author: Paul Fanara
Everyone knows Yelp.com for being a business review site, and an excellent resource to find a great new restaurant, or check out how other people feel about the hotel you’re considering for your vacation, but there is another even more altruistic side to this community building company.
In 2011 Yelp invested their own company equity into establishing the Yelp Foundation, with the mission of supporting local charitable organizations, and activities that address the needs of their local communities. This mission includes helping to increase access to information, educational opportunities, economic development, freedom of expression, and with that, promoting a culture of philanthropy among Yelp’s own employees. The Yelp Foundation accomplishes these charitable goals by making grants to deserving non-profits throughout the United States, and matching donations made to charities by Yelp employees up to $1,000 per person, per year.
Yelp Foundation Gives Local is a contest that allows community members to vote for the non-profits they believe are deserving of a grant. Nominated non-profits must support the Yelp Foundation’s mission of addressing needs within their local community. With the expansion of the program to include local community voting, Yelp hopes to grow these opportunities to more organizations in more community markets, and encourage the Yelp Community members to also give more to these worthy organizations as they learn more about the services they provide.
“Yelp is a community based site.” explains Yelp’s Buffalo Community Manager, Alex Levine, “Rather than a drive-by review site, we rely upon the local community for the highest quality of information about local businesses.”
Last year in the Buffalo market, WEDI Buffalo was awarded the top grant of $5000, while the Western New York Book Arts Center was awarded a grant of $2000, and PUSH Buffalo received $1000.
“Community is in our life blood, and the Yelp Foundation was specifically established to allow Yelp to promote a culture of philanthropy, and to create an opportunity for deserving non-profits in the community to earn a grant.” Alex continued.
Non-profits looking to take advantage of this program need to nominate themselves by August 31, 2016. To qualify, the non-profit must have 501(c)(3) status and a mission that supports charitable organizations and activities addressing the needs of local communities, including access to information, education, local economic development, and freedom of expression. The Yelp Foundation will select and approve 3 finalists in each US market. From there, voting will be open to the public from Tuesday, November 29th through Friday, December 9th to support the nonprofit of their choice through an online voting portal.
The nomination site can be found at: http://www.yfgiveslocal.org/yelp-foundation-gives-local-nominate2016/