In case you missed it, our alumn, SafeNight, has been all over the media recently coinciding with October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities. We were proud to see them featured everywhere from the Dallas Morning News to the Dallas Business Journal. It is inspiring to see this widespread, dangerous and sometimes lethal issue be highlighted – especially since SafeNight is an innovative way to help.
With Family Violence shelters constantly full and unable to handle all situations, nearly half of all desperate pleas for rescue are turned away. What if there was a nearly unlimited supply of on-demand quality space to provide rescue on that critical night?
Last year, we made an investment in a local nonprofit startup, AdvanceNet Labs, to help them bring to North Texas a revolutionary program they had been working on in partnership with Caravan Studios of California, SafeNight. SafeNight features the SafeNight App which anyone can download to their smartphone.
Individuals download the app and affiliate with a local shelter. When that shelter has a desperate need they cannot fill, they can secure a hotel room and then send an alert via the SafeNight App. Individuals are instantly alerted via the app that if they can donate the cost of the hotel room right then, rescue can be provided.
The app allows them to make the donation via credit card or their Paypal account and the shelter is notified of the donation and the alert is removed from the system.
This program has been a powerful example of The GroundFloor helping unlock the potential of the whole community. While we provided seed funding to the effort,
perhaps our greatest impact has been the other resources and community members we have brought to bear. We convened members of the shelter community to determine how to best make SafeNight work here in North Texas and we brought strong corporate partners such as Mary Kay to come alongside existing partners such as Accenture. United Way facilities have been used to host meetings and our computer lab has hosted training on new technologies. The team was given a mentor from GroundFloor, Rick Galloway, who has been an invaluable contributor to AdvanceNet Labs’ overall success. Start-ups are messy operations, and as the Director for The GroundFloor I have had the privilege of coaching the team through their setbacks and cheering on their successes.
With hundreds of donors coming together to support 7 North Texas shelters and over 200 Safe Nights provided – North Texas leads the way in turning the potential of this technology into actual lives rescued. Now, new uses of the app and new technologies are being piloted to help shelters be even more effective. I’m proud of what AdvanceNet Labs, their shelter partners, and our whole community has been able to do to leverage our investment into a transforming force for positive change.