Launch Dreams for $1 at

11/17/2011 09:02 am ET
  • Ben Mangan Executive Director + Lecturer of Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at UC Berkeley

Have you seen those commercials for McDonald's where a guy roams around trying to get something for a dollar? I think he gets a wire clothes hanger and a small plastic palm tree before winding up with a panoply of fast food items available for a buck.

What if I told you that with that same $1, you could play a role in breaking poverty for Americans? is a new, visionary nonprofit that makes this possible.

With as little as $1 to give, you can be an every-day philanthropist at Contributions match the savings of hard working low income people around the nation who are saving to send themselves to college, start microenterprises, and in some cases, even planning to purchase their first homes.

I became involved in SaveTogether after being inspired by Dylan Higgins, the organization's visionary founder and CEO. Dylan is a hero among us. Moved by his experience as a Kiva fellow in Africa, Dylan was determined to do something for Americans who were also working hard to get ahead. He gave up practicing law and created a new platform that lets all of us have a hand in creating prosperity.

"Our country is at a unique but possibly transitory moment where the dangers of overborrowing are being played out and the benefits of savings are moving to the forefront. By launching a compelling platform where everyday people could be inspired by the stories of low-wage workers who are making sacrifices to save a little bit each month, we have a real opportunity to make this moment stick." said Dylan when I asked him to comment on why he decided to take on this work.

SaveTogether CEO Dylan Higgins

SaveTogether CEO Dylan Higgins

While I know that social and economic problems in the developing world are far more severe than ours, I often wish that philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet would focus more on helping Americans who live in poverty. SaveTogether's focus on domestic opportunity is powerful to me, and led to my decision to serve as a volunteer on their board of directors.

You can also hear Dylan in this great piece on crosscurrents on KALW radio.

I know that some of you might still choose to spend that dollar on a small, greasy cheeseburger. But I promise - giving that dollar away will taste better in the long run.