Connect with us

Community

From The Cover: Columbus-based Point app connects people to charity opportunities

Mitch Hooper

Published

on

“I want to help, I just don’t know where to start.” These words are spoken all too often by folks in the community looking to get involved. It’s not the lack of time or energy; it’s simply the absence of awareness. And regardless of how the lapse happened, both sides lose—those with ambition are left searching, and nonprofits and charities are left in a pinch.

It’s kind of funny how this conundrum occurred in this age of connectedness. With Facebook alone, getting the word out about a charity or nonprofit in need of volunteers seems like it would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. While most national nonprofits can supply resources for social media and recruitment, those resources aren’t widely available on a smaller scale. And thanks to social media algorithms, those who are getting the word out are being buried underneath those with the budget to promote posts. In other words, nonprofits and charities could use some help beyond just volunteers at events, and Madison Mikhail Bush’s app, Point, aims to be that assistance.

Started in 2014, Point is an app that connects volunteers with nonprofits and charities in Columbus. But it’s also so much more than that. It features an interactive menu where users flag the issues they care most about, ranging from poverty to the environment. Once users have identified the causes they are invested in, the app shows charities operating in those categories and the times, dates, and what they are in need of.

“No one is ever shocked when they pull up [Point]; no one ever says, ‘This is brilliant!’ The biggest thing they say is, ‘How has this never existed before?’ It just makes sense,” Mikhail Bush said.

Not only is this a simple and effective tool for volunteers to find the organizations, it’s great for the organizations on the back-end. Instead of email chains, text messages, and phone calls, Point provides push notifications to remind volunteers of start times as well as confirming their participation in the event. While Point can’t solve every headache, it can certainly make a handful of them easier.

“Point is community based; it’s a community tool,” Mikhail Bush said. “We want to create a cultural structure within communities. It’s not something we’re going to one organization and saying, ‘Just use this!’ and then we’re done. We need to capture communities to create a difference that we’re looking for. If you have a tool and it’s the central point and it’s the best thing ever, it doesn’t mean anything unless everyone knows about it.”

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

The idea is similar to how Uber and other start-ups have gone about business. Instead of setting up a brick-and-mortar location in their areas of operation, these companies have utilized technology like apps to connect already existing people in the community. There has always been a need for improvement in these areas, but between a lack of awareness and a lack of understanding of the issue, it can become difficult to address and assess. The stark difference between Point and those start-ups is the approach. Businesses like Uber and Bird have taken the shock value approach: just show up, let everyone deal with it, and figure out the kinks in the system later. Point, however, wants to make sure the program and systems they build are sustainable, effective, and most importantly, created by and for the community at large.

The app all started as most success stories do: lying in bed, ordering some takeout. Mikhail Bush said she realized it was easier for her to do things such as order ramen or book a hotel from her cell phone than it was to get connected with organizations doing good in her neighborhood. As someone who helped pave her way into college at Capital University via volunteering, she said she quickly saw a problem in the market.

“So I thought, ‘We need to make a costless tool that is that connection so that whenever I want to do something good, I can go to one place and do a lot of good things,’ “ Mikhail Bush recalled. “When we first started we thought it was going to be really hard to get nonprofits on board so we said we’d try to get 100 nonprofits by the end of the year. Turns out we hit over 100 in about a month. People want a connective tool, and we just never had it before.”

And as most tech start-ups go, there were plenty of changes—or pivoting as the professionals call it. Mikhail Bush’s first app attempt in 2010 wasn’t exactly fruitful; she created a giving website with her five friends which was able to raise roughly $20,000 for charities, but it ultimately failed. With programs like GoFundMe and Facebook’s donate feature, perhaps a giving website was just a little ahead of its time. Nonetheless, the lessons learned in that process have helped her get to where Point is now with more than 5,000 users.

“Normally when you tell people, ‘I graduated in 2014 and started fundraising in 2016,’ people go, ‘What have you been doing?’ But it has been hard to build,” Mikhail Bush explained. “When I first started, I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t have any connections; it wasn’t my world…. It’s definitely been a long time coming since we just launched last year and I feel like this year now that we have roots and people using it and events are starting to get filled—that’s when I think people are like, ‘Wait a minute, there’s that girl who was screaming off rooftops four years ago.’”

While Mikhail Bush said they are committed to building and scaling Point in the Midwest, the ultimate goal is to spread this app across the country. Whether it be resources that the coast can offer, or newer solutions to problems, Columbus is only the beginning for Point.

“We’re like, ‘This is what people want in their lives and we are just giving you the tools to do it.’ Our generation understands that. We’re not looking for a pat on the back; we just want to go do it. It’s a part of our lives, it’s a part of our lifestyles.”

Point app is available on the Apple Store and Google Play. For more information or to get involved, visit pointapp.org.

millennial | writer | human

Continue Reading
Comments

Arts & Culture

Gallery Space: Danielle Deley

Avatar

Published

on

In the ‘60s, the clash of mass culture and fine art exploded. Led by New York-based artist Andy Warhol, whose silkscreen paintings of Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe were instantly iconicized, the vibrant basis of his works became known as pop art. While Warhol was one of the founding pop art leaders, the lesser-recognized Roy Lichtenstein was a Fine Arts graduate from The Ohio State University in 1949 and was notable for his comic-like expressionism.

Subtly following Lichtenstein’s influential trajectory is visual artist Danielle Deley, who’s currently prepping for her Skylab show Jubilee. Her use of color is rich in tone, and her subjects are easily recognizable, with cultural nods to Frank Ocean, Barbara Streisand and the late David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

“I want Jubilee to feel like you’re walking back into the height of the pop art era. I might have a more muted color palette than Lichtenstein, but I want it to make a comment about traditional fine art,” Deley said. “Each of the 2D pieces are based off of very popular sculptures in Greek and Renaissance art. Each 3D piece is taken from paintings from that same time period.”

Originally from Youngstown, Deley graduated from CCAD in 2011 with a BFA in graphic design and advertising. Spending a semester in England while she attended CCAD, Deley regularly kept in contact with her grade school art teachers, who provided encouragement and foundational skills. Their guidance led her into becoming co-president of the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts, and even illustrating Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on a cover of Chicago Reader in April. Through Deley’s intricate, pastel design, Lightfoot is recreated into a queen of spades form.

“Sue Kwong, the creative lead for the Chicago Reader, reached out, had this awesome cover idea and wanted me to bring her vision to life,” Deley said about the collaboration. “She found me on this forum called Women Who Draw, something I submitted to six years ago. They make a space for female artists and illustrators to find other female artists and illustrators. [Illustrating the cover] probably took eight hours. It was my first cover illustration for a big publication so I wanted to get it right.”

Often visiting Gateway Film Center to see how films are composed, Deley actively studies the meticulous craft of cinematography, along with going to intimate gallery spaces to align with the art community. After graduating from CCAD, Deley would only create on her computer, but decided to transition her work into watercoloring. “[Watercoloring] then moved into gouache, wood carving, and finally painting with acrylics. My style started to take shape just from doing these small projects that popped into my head,” she said. “My first one was The Young and the Restless illustration that I have on my website and I just couldn’t stop. The style stayed the same but I would push myself with composition, size, and color.”

Currently contracting as a designer at independent digital design Studio Freight, Deley also co-created the “mind reading” board game Medium, which Two Dollar Radio attendees had the chance to celebrate and play after its release. In August, Delay also illustrated children’s (and dog lovers) book Good Night, Buckeye with author Dan Wurth, with all proceeds from the book benefitting Canine Companions for Independence. With Deley’s hectic creative schedule, Jubilee could have become an afterthought, but she assures (614) that the show’s creation was intentional, with retrospective, familial ties.

“I came up [with] the name [of Jubilee] for two reasons. One, Jubilee came from the idea of celebrating. I thought it was time to celebrate this style I’ve been creating,” she said. “And two, it’s an homage to my grandparents. My Baba would always make this rich and delicious cookies called ‘jubilees’. They were always doing a craft with me or when I would come visit they were creating something.”

With appreciation for local art venues such as 934 Gallery, No Place Gallery and Roy G Biv, Deley avidly wanted for Jubilee to be placed in Skylab, ready to share her “post-pop art” genre with Columbus. “Skylab was the perfect space to propose this show. Its view of art has always been contemporary and experimental, and that’s how I view everything I make,” she said. “Contemporary art for me is about making things weird and beautiful at the same time and that’s how I hope people perceive Jubilee.

Jubilee opens Jan. 1, 2020 at Skylab Gallery, located at 57 E Gay St., 5th floor.
Visit danielledeley.com or @danielle_deley on Instagram for more information.

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Thinking Big: The Amazing Giants bring circus arts to events across town

Avatar

Published

on

If you have been to a local festival, parade, or corporate event where you’ve seen stilt walkers, fire-eaters, hula-hoopers or lyra artists, there’s a good chance you’ve been in the presence of an Amazing Giant. Founded in 2011 by Jessica Minshall, The Amazing Giants was born out of one woman’s love of stilt walking and her friends’ desire to learn the skill. Now a new challenge is looming for the group—a business expansion to Hawaii.

Working in the service industry, Minshall saw a need in Columbus for a different type of entertainment. She taught herself how to walk on stilts for a festival gig out of state. This new hobby intrigued a group of her friends, and they decided to learn, too. From there, The Amazing Giants were born. “My partner and I bought a lot of stilts and just taught people how to do it,” she said. “We all found each other.”

What began as a few friends learning a new skill and having fun together practicing it evolved into a booming business with 40 employees and contract workers, including magicians, face painters and more. They are hired for events to do everything from wearing full bodysuits covered in tiny mirrors and dancing to wearing and serving champagne from large metal skirts to dazzle a crowd.

“We have evolved with different equipment, too,” Minshall said. The Amazing Giants owns the only sway pole in the Midwest. It allows performers to create a large- scale spectacle with an extreme cirque-style pole acrobatic act without the need for a permanent installation. With hundreds of costumes, 20 pairs of stilts, and entertainment offerings of just about every circus art imaginable, The Amazing Giants truly seek to astound.

Having had great success in the Columbus market, Minshall decided to grow her business, and recently brought The Amazing Giants to Honolulu. “I had family out here that I would visit and realized they don’t have anyone doing what we do. There’s not really a group or team of stilt walkers working together,” she said. So Minshall bought six pairs of stilts, and hosts open gyms where interested performers can show off their skills and possibly train on stilts. “They don’t need to send me a resume, necessarily,” she said. “It’s about personality and talent.”

Importantly, Amazing Giants must have an abundance of confidence without an overabundance of ego. “I tell people we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As an entertainer you have to get over your shyness and put yourself out there.” The ability to work as a collaborative team player is also key, she said. “Our team often works in tight quarters, and whether or not it is well-received, you have to put on the show as best you can.”

Although Minshall is keeping the headquarters in Columbus, now headed by Chief of Operations Olivia Ranier, she says she is excited about the expansion and her recent move to Honolulu. “It reminds me a lot of Columbus because it has that small-town, big-city feel with a similar {\(metropolitan area) population of around one million people,” Minshall said. And the environment is ripe for her type of business. “In Honolulu, we have events year-round; in Columbus our business slows down after New Year’s Eve,” she said. “There is also a lot more tourism and a convention center that brings in a ton of people.”

Although her business has expanded, don’t for a second go thinking that Minshall is going to forget where she comes from. “A lot of times people ask me where I am from and they say, ‘Wow, I’ve been hearing a lot about Ohio lately.’ I have nothing but good things to say about Columbus and what kind of platform it’s given me. It’s a massive city with a thriving arts and entertainment culture—and it’s extremely underrated. I will be Columbus-promoting forever.”

For more information visit theamazinggiants.com.

Continue Reading

Sports

Big Macs and Bowl Games: Enter McDonalds sweepstakes for college football getaway

614now Staff

Published

on

Now that Ohio State has secured its bid to play in the 2019 College Football Playoffs, every fan across Columbus is vying for tickets to the Bowl Game. Lucky for you, McDonald’s has the answer.

Today, McDonald’s launches their Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes in partnership with Ohio State Athletics, where one lucky winner will win a trip for two to the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Game on Saturday, Dec. 28, including prime tickets to the game, transportation to and from, plus hotel and travel accommodations.

Fans can enter the Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes by purchasing a Quarter Pounder or Quarter Pounder with cheese from any McDonald’s in the greater Columbus area, either in restaurants or through their favorite delivery service. With each order, customers will receive a golden ticket with entry details, leading them to the sweepstakes website.

And the best part is for every submission placed, McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Columbus will donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, helping them meet their annual fundraising goal.

“For McDonald’s, and for those of us as local business owners, it’s about more than selling burgers. It’s about creating a lasting impact in our community,” said Mike Telich, Columbus McDonald’s Owner/Operator in a statement. “Supporting RMHC is more than just a donation, its ensuring families with ill or injured children get the emotional and physical support they need, as well an alternative to the financial burden of staying at a hotel and going out for meals."

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X