Today, Upbring Innovation Labs rolled out its first product, an online marketplace to help make an immediate impact on the lives of children and families that need extra support
AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Upbring, one of Texas’ leading nonprofits in the child wellbeing sector, constantly explores innovative strategies for achieving its mission to break the cycle of child abuse. With that in mind, the agency today announced Upbring Innovation Labs, which is believed to be the first innovation lab at a Texas-based organization that operates a private foster care agency. The lab partners with entrepreneurs, business leaders, startups and universities to explore and build solutions for at-risk children, families and communities.
“As Texans, we live in an exciting time and place where new technologies, bold ideas and creative talent should be united to serve those most in need,” Upbring President and COO Michael Loo said. “Texas’ entrepreneurial ecosystem is shaping the way nonprofits innovate, design and approach important issues. We invite the community to partner with us to help give all children the bright futures they deserve.”
Based at the organization’s Austin headquarters, Upbring Innovation Labs, overseen by Upbring Director of Innovation, Ryan Park, maintains a presence at Capital Factory, an accelerator and co-working space known as the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas.
Through collaboration, Upbring Innovation Labs has begun exploring augmented and virtual reality, blockchain technology, community-based programs, corporate social responsibility partnerships and other innovations that have the potential to help break the cycle of child abuse.
Last year alone, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirmed more than 63,657 cases of child abuse and neglect. Research suggests that approximately 30 percent of the children who have been abused are likely to repeat the cycle of abuse.
The lab is already making progress and today launched its first product – Upbring Marketplace – an online wish list of urgently needed items for the children in its care.
“It is not unusual for children to enter the child welfare system with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing,” Park said. “Yet across the great state of Texas, foster care agencies often have to rely on slow and outdated systems to fulfill critical-needs items for children—think diapers and car seats, for example. We’ve created the technology solution to streamline this process. Upbring Marketplace leverages retailer application programming interfaces (APIs) to automate the in-kind donation process and empower donors to help Texas children by giving where it’s needed most. In an era where everyone uses Uber and Instacart, why can’t nonprofits provide a similar experience to donors?”
Those passionate about helping children can visit Upbring.org/Shop and sort by location to purchase items for children or families in their community. They can also purchase items for those being served in an Upbring program that is close to their heart. All gifts, which are 100 percent tax-deductible, are shipped directly to the appropriate Upbring program.
By streamlining the giving process, Upbring Marketplace eliminates the administrative costs associated with sorting and transporting gifts. Ultimately, Upbring staff has more time to spend doing what they are passionate about: serving the children and families in their care.
Upbring is a leading Texas-based, faith-inspired nonprofit organization working to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities. Upbring partners with federal, state and local government agencies, community groups, small businesses, large corporations and dedicated individuals to deliver services that produce measurable progress toward five key markers of every child’s well-being: safety, life skills, education, health and vocation. Upbring benefits nearly 30,000 families each year with its life-changing programs—including foster care, adoption, education, children’s centers and community services. While Upbring has evolved over more than 136 years of service, our organization remains firmly focused on delivering innovative programs and services that address the root causes of child abuse and neglect. For more information, please visit upbring.org.