Announcing: HandUp has been acquired by South Oakland Shelter!


Dear HandUp Community,

We have some big news to share: the HandUp platform has been acquired by our close partners in Detroit, South Oakland Shelter!

Starting November 1st, 2017, South Oakland Shelter (SOS) will officially take ownership of HandUp and keep our products accessible to nonprofits across the Bay Area and the country. This is an exciting milestone for HandUp and we hope you will join us in celebrating this transition.

More about SOS

SOS became HandUp’s first nonprofit partner outside of San Francisco in 2014. They were working to build their own fundraising platform when they discovered HandUp already existed.  In the words of Jenny Poma, COO at SOS, “We were excited to find that HandUp was already effectively raising critical funds around the issues of homelessness in such a personal way. We found what we were looking for – an opportunity for our clients to share their story, in their own words, and advocate for their most immediate needs.”

Three years later, SOS is one of HandUp’s most active partners and has spearheaded new initiatives using the platform. SOS secured $100,000 in grants from the McGregor Fund and The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to launch the HandUp Detroit Collaborative. Together, 11 housing agencies have used the platform to raise $200,000, helping 600 people experiencing homelessness in Metro Detroit.

We are humbled by SOS’s commitment to growing our technology and vision, and couldn’t be more thrilled for them to take HandUp through its next phase of impact.

What this mean for you

You might be wondering what this means for the people who use HandUp. Don’t worry, SOS will keep the platform running with the same level of service you’ve come to expect.

  • For our donors: You will still be able to use HandUp to directly support people experiencing homelessness and the nonprofits that serve them. If you have a recurring donation set up, it will continue supporting the great work of nonprofits across the country. (If not, set one up here to help SOS get off to a strong start!)
  • For our nonprofit partners: You can continue using HandUp as always. will still be your go-to, with the SOS team responding to your inquiries and supporting your fundraising initiatives. Stay tuned for more information about an upcoming webinar where you can meet the SOS team.
  • For our members: If you have a fundraising profile on HandUp, you can keep working with your sponsoring nonprofit organization to raise funds, check your point balance, and work toward achieving your goals.
  • SF Gift Card Program: While SOS will maintain HandUp’s online fundraising tools, the San Francisco-based street Gift Card program will be put on hold. The last day to buy Gift Cards is October 15th. If you’ve recently purchased Gift Cards, please give them out before the use by date. Any remaining funds will be redistributed to nonprofits on the HandUp platform after that point.  

Why we’re making this transition

This news may come as a surprise to some of you and we want to share a bit more about what led to this decision.

When we started HandUp, our goal was to use the power of the for-profit business model to make an impact on homelessness. We successfully created innovative products for human service agencies, but weren’t able to make HandUp work as a highly scalable business. While we worked hard to reach our current base of 100 nonprofit customers, the reality is we needed closer to 1,000 to be a thriving tech startup operating in San Francisco.

However, we did create a powerful philanthropic model for delivering impact. As we shared in our recent infographic, we’ve raised $2.4 million in donations on the platform, helping 25,000 people cover their basic needs. We’re so glad this impact will live on with SOS.

Thank You 

Building HandUp has truly been a community effort and we’re so thankful to you all for helping us get here. Special thanks to:

  • Our members like Rodney and Julianne who courageously said “yes” to trying something new like HandUp;
  • Our nonprofit partners like Kara Zordel at Project Homeless Connect, who use the HandUp platform every day to help their clients succeed;
  • Our corporate and philanthropic contributors like, who believe in the power of innovation to drive social change;
  • Our investors like Julie and Clara at Tumml who took a risk on a different kind of startup;
  • Our government partners like the City of San Francisco who supported us from the beginning;
  • Our HandUp team who put their talent to work making something great;
  • And, of course, our donors who act on their compassion and help dignify our homeless neighbors.

Closing message

With this strong base of support, SOS is ready to carry forward the vision of HandUp as a philanthropic initiative with great social impact. From Ryan Hertz, SOS CEO, “HandUp’s mission is to use the power of technology and human relationships to fight poverty, and these tools have empowered us in recent years to better fulfill our own mission: building communities that end homelessness. We are proud to inherit and continue HandUp’s legacy as we extend our work into building digital communities.”

Many people have asked us what’s next for the HandUp team. We’re focused on this transition for now, but are excited to say part of the team will join We (Rose & Sammie) will both stay on as advisors to HandUp and continue doing everything we can to help it succeed.

We invite you all to stay with us through this transition. This isn’t the end. It’s a new beginning.


Rose & Sammie

The HandUp Team:  Barney, Katrina, Rose, Sammie, Patricia

The HandUp Team: Barney, Katrina, Rose, Sammie, Patricia