Born to immigrant parents in poverty, Jonathan and his family quickly learned the value and need for community (something he discovered later on was very hard to come by for folks on the street). Receiving an opportunity to study at the University of Michigan, Jonathan earned a degree in Informatics, specializing in UX design. After producing a documentary on social change ("Talim" on Amazon), Jonathan developed a tool for restaurants to convert surplus food into funding for local food banks called FoodCircles. From there he helped create Samaritan, with the goal to give people without a home the social and financial support needed to leave the street. Through all this, he wants people to meet Jesus and come to know His unconditional love for them.
Jonathan joins me today to discuss the causes of homelessness, ways to address homelessness, how volunteers can help a person without a home, why they chose a for benefit corporation rather than nonprofit and what some of the challenges have been, as well has his advice at the end.
“We just find that, if you have a social home, addressing that financial poverty becomes a lot easier and higher likelihood that the person is able to do that. And then the physical home can follow thereafter.” - Jonathan Kumar
Today on Startups for Good we cover:
- Why Jonathan is drawn to helping the homeless
- Paying generosity forward
- Causes of homelessness
- Leaning on people to help you through tough times
- Does mental illness and substance abuse play a role?
- How Samaritan works
- Raising capital as a public benefit corporation
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