Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 12:00 pm est

Students give nonprofit charity personal touch

Posted on April 17, 2014 | by Ilona Tuominen

courtesy of Stern Undergraduate College

Two NYU students are working to give nonprofits a boost.

Stern sophomore Josh Dean and Steinhardt sophomore Alexandra Cardinale launched Live To Give, a website that provides users with a platform to raise money for nonprofit organizations, on March 31.

Live To Give uses personal stories to fundraise. The stories are told through a first-person narrative and in a specific manner that Dean and Cardinale chose after working with professional psychologists.

“A story about one person is twice as effective as a story about a group of unnamed statistical victims,” Dean said. “Live To Give aims to humanize causes so that the donors can feel more connected.”

Live To Give encourages new users to join and tell their stories as well. Dean and Cardinale said NYU students in particular would benefit from using their website.

“We are a socially conscious school, and Live To Give is a great way for people to express their passions and support causes they feel strongly about,” Dean said.

Gallatin senior Eric Fuchs-Stengel shared his story on the website to raise money for his environmental organization MEVO. His story has been the most financially successful so far, raising $2,610 since its launch in late March.

“I believe in a better future — a future where people don’t live in polluted communities and don’t have to choose between losing their quality of life and risking that of future generations,” Fuchs-Stengel said in his story.

However, Dean said it is difficult to say which one of the stories has had the biggest impact.

“A story can do so much more than raise money,” Dean said. “It can bring people closer together in ways that are somewhat intangible. That is what motivates us the most.”

While Live to Give exists as an easily accessible platform for students to raise money, CAS freshman Jose Morales said he questions whether students will donate to the causes.

“If they can help raise money for charities, then it sounds like a good idea,” Morales said. “But I don’t think a lot of students would be able to donate, since we already don’t have much money for ourselves to spend.”

Yet from working so closely and personally with their users, Dean and Cardinale have found the whole process to be nothing but humbling and inspiring.

“I have found my passion in working with people, and how much we all have in common,” Dean said. “The reason our stories will be successful is that they relate to so many people. You would never know that, however, until these stories are told.”

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 17 print edition. Ilona Tuominen is a staff writer. Email her at


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