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Social Impact Spotlight: AbleThrive

AbleThrive fills the gap between people with disabilities and their families, and the resources that exist but are extremely difficult to find. Generally, people who either acquire a disability (for example, through a car accident) or who give birth to a child with a disability, don’t know where to start, what to expect or what to look for in terms of resources. Brittany Déjean, CEO of AbleThrive, wants to change all that, and connect these families with the support and resources that can ensure the person with a disability is able to thrive.

Her motivation is personal. When Déjean was 12, her dad was in a serious car accident that resulted in his becoming a quadriplegic. It was obviously a traumatic event for her family, but they were lucky. Her dad got the support and resources he needed, and now, he lives independently, drives himself to work every day, and even danced with Déjean on her wedding day.

Branching Out

For Déjean, the Verb platform was an important opportunity to get a fresh set of eyes on the business that is so personal to her. She didn’t come into the platform with expectations, but rather wanted to stay open to anything. Déjean really hit it off with her volunteer mentor, Whitney Pocoroba. Together they found their own groove, based on what Déjean and AbleThrive really needed. By the end, Déjean and Pocoroba developed a new one-minute pitch. Déjean was floored by the feedback she got when Pocoroba took on the pitch, and shared it with her own network. Those people were able to clearly and frankly offer what they found powerful, what wasn’t clear, etc., which all helped Déjean better tell her story.

“I’m genuinely grateful to Verb for connecting me to such a passionate and committed volunteer who really took our work and made it her own for the duration of our engagement,” Déjean shared. “I walked away with a better pitch and I’m excited about that.”

The Elevator Pitch

Déjean’s goal is that people know to go to  AbleThrive to start their life with a disability as instinctively as people know to go to Google for an internet search; so far they source articles, videos, products and services from a growing network of over 225 organizations in 13 countries. When someone is feeling lost and overwhelmed, AbleThrive will point people in the right direction. Someone like Déjean’s dad, who becomes a quadriplegic later in life is going to need different things than someone who gives birth to a child with Cerebral Palsy. When AbleThrive is doing it’s job, Déjean says, “people can live life to the fullest.”

Above a one-stop shop for resources, Déjean’s larger purpose is to wholly reframe the perception of people with disabilities. She’s looking to make a cultural change. And this requires a change in how some people with disabilities view themselves and their potential, and that only happens if they have resources. It’s a full circle.

Finding Funding

AbleThrive received its first seed capital from Echoing Green, a fellowship for early stage social enterprises. They’ve also had support from the AT&T Foundation, from corporate sponsorships and crowdfunding. They spent their first 2 years focusing on establishing their brand and culture and building trust in the community. Recently, they launched AbleGoods, a feed of products that enhance independence and quality of life. This is the first iteration of their business model, as they work towards their own sustainability.

AbleThrive has an incredible mission, a powerful personal story behind it, and a brilliant woman running it. The life of a social entrepreneur isn’t easy, but we’re proud to be a part of Déjean’s growing network, supporting the incredibly necessary work she’s doing with AbleThrive.

Verb’s Mission to Further Social Impact

Verb has been working with social entrepreneurs for years now. Continuously invigorated by their passion and individual missions, we have made it a top priority to continue to provide programs and materials that will help social impact organizations along their journey. Déjean was partnered with Pocoroba, who is an Customer Insights manager at NetSpend. Together, the two worked to create a re-vamped 1-minute pitch to help Déjean better tell the AbleThrive story. The two are constantly in touch to find new ways to share their talents and work together. They recently partnered to help Déjean bring a #ThriveWorldwide event to Austin on the International Day of People with Disabilities on December 3, 2017. Learn more the event here.

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