Honorable HighlightImpact

Grateful In Granada: How a $4000 Charidy Campaign Created a Crowdfunding Cataclysm That Changed the World

One aspect of our work which we are most proud of at Charidy is when an organization, after completing a successful campaign on our platform, returns for a second, third or even fourth campaign. And perhaps no client of ours embodies the Charidy spirit more than the Chabad of Granada Hills.

Established in 2010 by Rabbi Meir Rivkin and his wife Simi, the Chabad of Granada Hills was Charidy’s very first campaign in 2013. In October of that year, Meir was approached by Charidy founder Yehuda Gurwitz, a friend since Kindergarten, with an idea to raise money for his synagogue.

“He’s a good friend, so I knew he had big dreams and plans,” Meir tells us. “Yehuda said to me, ‘I want to launch a crowdfunding platform that really helps people help people.’

“‘Making a living aside,’ he told me, ‘it’s a really mitzvah (blessing),’” Meir recalls.

And so the Rabbi asked Yehuda, “have you tested it?” To which Yehuda replied, “you are the test!”

“Now, I am a very small shul, we don’t have a large community” Meir tells us. “We are a no frills operation, and my synagogue is all I got. So, naturally I told him, ‘I’m not testing it on anything!’”

But Yehuda persisted, telling Meir that he had done his due diligence, had collected solid research, analyzed all the available data and was ready for success, convincing the Rabbi to embark on a small campaign of just $4,000. The two childhood friends worked together to secure three matching donors to provide $1,000 each and then they geared up for campaign day.

Screenshot of Charidy’s first campaign in its original beta platform

“And sure enough, we did it!” Meir exclaims. “And more importantly, we learned a lot. And I started thinking better and bigger about what I could build for the community.

“And now have a gorgeous synagogue,” he adds. Meir did another campaign in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before successfully completing his fifth Charidy campaign in June 2018.

Following his most recent campaign – which helped to raise 75 percent of the synagogue’s annual operational budget – Meir tells us, “it is such a relief to know I’m in healthier place for the rest of the year. It’s the first time in almost eight years that I feel like I have a plan going forward, a structure, and I’m following a clear goal.

“I never had this before Charidy,” he adds. “I love Charidy, and I can’t use anyone else – because you’re the best!”

Overview of Chabad of Granada Hill’s five Charidy campaigns

Meir points out that, “Charidy breathes what we do.Charidy pushes you into a place where miracles happen, and they push you to self realize miracles, miracles that were waiting to happen.

“And life is all about the little miracles that were always waiting for,” he adds.

After a lifelong friendship, and the immense support he has received from the Charidy platform and team over five years, Meir remains convinced that the company’s continued success is due, in large measure, to its founder’s vision.

“Yehuda has an open mind. Literally, the gate around his mind doesn’t exist. The boundaries of his mind are endless,” Meir remarks. “The world is moving so fast and you must be thinking a few steps ahead with these realities changing so fast. Yehuda is always in the next reality.

“And this is Charidy’s crucial ingredient,” he add. “You can’t build such a business with a 1980 mindset. And Yehuda is already in 2030.”

The California-based Rabbi, who hails from the east coast, has had the unique opportunity to watch Charidy evolve since inception. He points out the company’s innovative spirit and dedicated work ethic as being critical ingredients in its capacity to maintain and grow is crowdfunding revolution.

“Everyday there is a new feature,” Meir remarks. “They have people working on everything all the time. So it’s only natural that they’ll be in the best: they have the best technology, the best learning tools. And it’s better every time. They are always engaged in massive upgrades.

“Every time I give feedback,” he adds smiling, “Yehuda tells me he’s always already working on it.”

Despite having been conceived in Brooklyn, Charidy’s roots in California’s San Fernando Valley – what Meir calls the, “real birthplace of Charidy” – cannot be ignored. But neither can the global reach of its wide-ranging impact just five short years after launching its first campaign. Operating in 27 countries, Charidy is able to provide support for non-profits on every continent. And with over $570 million raised across more than 2,100 campaigns, for over 1,400 organizations, with a success rate of 99 percent since 2013, Charidy is poised and committed to continuing the crowdfunding revolution and to helping people, help people.

“Yehuda has collectively opened everyone’s mind about crowdfunding,” Meir remarks. “It’s all transparent, all online. And today, everyone’s dream are are online, and with Charidy we can dream collectively.”

Because at Charidy, giving really does mean more.