Rhea Claus knows that planetary change is inevitable. That is why she has dedicated her time and passion to Usful, an initiative based company that is preparing communities for this reality through technology, design, and education. Usful, where Rhea is Project Manager, is comprised of a conscious team of technologists, designers, developers, engineers, and architects who create useful products with purpose.

Rhea’s latest initiative: to change the way charitable donations are made.

Change for a Dollar is a mobile and web platform that rounds up every purchase made to the nearest dollar and donates the change to a charity of the users’ choice. “As our society moves closer to becoming cashless, billions of dollars in small donations are being lost. Not because people are unwilling or unable to give, but because no one has change. By leveraging existing tech to solve this problem Change for a Dollar is looking to make charitable giving a part of every Canadian’s day-to-day.” Says Rhea. Change for a Dollar has been announced as the second team to compete at The Breakout Project, where the Usful team will look to make its platform a reality.

The Breakout Project
Over 48 hours, teams will compete in Canada’s biggest social innovation event. Participants will work around the clock to kickstart year-long social good projects designed to improve our community, society and planet. Thousands of attendees will rally behind teams while millions more will show their support online through social media and live stream video. Each social enterprise team competes to raise both human and financial capital required to take their project from idea to reality – in just one year.

Attendees, visionary speakers, mentors and citizens online will watch, participate, learn and connect unlike ever before and all in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. This experience will be broadcast and streamed online so more than just spectators can participate and share their knowledge, donating time and capital, and creating connections to support the teams they believe in.

Change for a Dollar Project Mission
Change for a Dollar, created by Usful takes the idea of charitable giving and is innovating it, using technology to improve the ease and experience of charitable giving. Technology has caused the problem that Rhea and her team have set out to solve – 57% of consumer payment transactions in Canada are cashless and globally, Canada has the highest presence of macro-economic pre-requisites for going cashless. Consequently, these changes in payment are altering the landscape of charitable donations. The World giving index ranks Canada as the sixth most generous nations yet charities are losing out on billions by only accepting cash donations. The Change for a Dollar Project aims to use technology as the solution to the problem it has arguably created.

“The Breakout Project sparks game-changing ideas and opens new possibilities for innovation by engaging diverse people from our community, online, and beyond. It’s a platform for ideas, created for innovators, thinkers, doers and interested citizens of social good. We believe in Rhea’s mission as is relates directly to our core values” says Grant Goodwin, CEO, Innovate Kingston.

The Breakout Project is an event designed to provide Rhea with the essential resources that her team will need to develop their project quickly. Talent across disciplines – subject matter experts, graphic designers, and business developers – will be required to provide expertise and time. She will also need funding, connections and awareness, and will use The Breakout Project as the vehicle to make all this happen at a pace not available in any form to date.

“Breakout Project came to us at the perfect time,” says Rhea, “we were already amping up to get this project going and it will help us gain access to the resources, experts, industry leaders, and support we need.”

Rhea sees participating in the Breakout Project as success in itself, “Success for our myself and the team is the experience of going to the Breakout Project event. As 5 women working in tech we are used to things being crazy and this experience, as a challenge, is considered a success. While for the project, it’s validating the idea, getting support for it across the country.”

About The Breakout Project
Combining a business conference with a hackathon, The Breakout Project is a new, immersive innovation experience that allows global visionaries – including Patagonia’s, Jeff Johnson; Co-founder Real Ventures, JS Cournoyer, Tara McCallan; Happy Soul Project, Kaj Arnö, Global tech expert – mentors and attendees to participate, learn and connect unlike ever before. Over 48 hours, teams will compete in Canada’s biggest social innovation event. Participants will work around the clock to kickstart year-long social good projects designed to improve our community, society and planet. For more details visit: www.thebreakoutproject.com.

About Innovate Kingston
The Breakout Project is the brainchild of Innovate Kingston. A non-profit organization, Innovate Kingston was created by eight entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the high-tech sector, established specifically to encourage the creation of rapid-growth businesses in the Kingston region. www.innovatekingston.ca

Press Contact:
Andrea Chrysanthou, Global Public Affairs
c: (416) 797-8194
e: achrysanthou@globalpublic.com

i http://www.mastercardadvisors.com/cashlessjourney/
ii https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/publications/2016-publications/caf-world-giving-index-2016
iii https://www.home.barclaycard/media-centre/press-releases/contactless-donation-boxes.html.html