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Kelly Emery, founder of Troop.JENNIFER ROBERTS/For the Washington Post

The organizer: Kelly Emery

The pitch: Creating Troop

The cause: To help small businesses engage with charities

After Kelly Emery helped launch the predecessor to the insurance website, she started looking for a new challenge.

But Ms. Emery wanted to do something more than just start a new business. She hoped to find a way to use technology to solve meaningful problems in the world.

She spent a year volunteering and talking with local charities to better understand their needs. One of the main issues that came up repeatedly was engagement and how to get people involved. “People are hugely compassionate and generous,” she said from her office in Toronto. “They just don’t always know where their generosity is needed.”

That led her to create a service called Troop which helps small and mid-sized businesses get employees involved in local causes.

Every month, Ms. Kelly sends businesses a list of needs from various charities. That could be anything from new bed sheets for a women’s shelter to a stroller for a refugee family. The employees vote on which cause to help. At the end of the month, Ms. Emery sends a report from the charity on the impact the employees made. She charges companies $2 per employee and all donations are put through Troop’s charitable foundation which issues tax receipts.

Since Troop’s founding a couple of years ago, Ms. Emery has attracted 11 business partners with 800 employees in total. They have contributed a combined $135,000 so far. She also has developed a network of 150 charities and non-profit organizations which regularly provide her with a list of needs. And she has expanded the service to Alberta and British Columbia.

When she started Troop Ms. Emery told charity organizers; “I just want to be your microphone out to the community, so that then you can use your time supporting our neighbours in our community that need your services in a much better way, right now. That has been incredibly impactful for some of my charity partners.”

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