Las Vegas-based tech entrepreneur Justin Woo wanted to do something to help when COVID-19 hit the Valley. But his vision went further than volunteering or a one-time monetary donation.
He recalled seeing a variety of posts on NextDoor and Facebook with locals requesting help. “You know, such and such needs something, someone else lost their car—all these little stories,” Woo says. “We wanted to build something to help locals in Vegas.”
Woo’s company, Apollo Interactive, put forth a $200,000 seed donation to get the ball rolling on his new charity, Vegas Helps. He hopes to raise more money over the year to keep the giving going.
Vegas Helps assigns individual monetary donations to specific charitable acts. Woo plans to personally cover operating costs, so that 100% of donations are going toward helping people.
People can submit requests at vegashelps.com, and donors can give on the same site. Requests are vetted before being granted. Woo says the target price of an act of kindness is about $500.
Vegas Helps started helping people around Christmas by providing gifts, holiday ham dinners and help for a homeless Henderson family.
“There’s some people that need hundreds of thousands of dollars—we’re probably not the best charity for that,” Woo says. “But what we’re trying to do is, say, somebody got their wheelchair stolen or they don’t have the money to fix their brakes. We would come in and help them with that—little things that brighten people’s day.”