Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Carl Nassib dreamed of a different kind of social media app for years — one that celebrates positivity and community.

Rayze, a brand new app that connects people with each other and nonprofits that match their interests, is what he may have invented.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting people and nonprofits to use it. “When we scale, if we’re hanging around on a Saturday afternoon and we’ve got time to kill, we can get on our phones and within 10 seconds, we can find something in our neighborhood to do to give back,” Nassib claimed. “There’s gonna be opportunities galore.”

Rayze will now launch programs for adding users and nonprofits after receiving Series A funding from Financial Finesse Ventures. Financial Finesse Ventures stated that their average investment ranges between $500,0000 and $1.5 million for a minor stake. However, details of the investment have not been released.

Liz Davidson, Financial Finesse Ventures CEO and founder, said Rayze ticked all the boxes the venture arm of her firm was looking for in an investment — positive social impact, strong business model and a CEO who can inspire people to work together.

“Carl is a force of nature,” Davidson stated. “It’s gonna be really hard honestly to find other investments that can match this.”

Nassib, who was the talk of the town last year after he became The first active NFL player Rayze said he was proud to be gay and that he has known Rayze since he first volunteered at the Buccaneers in Tampa’s juvenile delinquent facility in 2018.

“We visited with kids who were as young as 13 or 14 years old who were in jail cells — a lot of them were there because they were just running away from a violent home environment,” He stated. “These kids were in really, really desperate need and the most moving part about it was they were half a mile from where we went to work every day,” He added. “And none of us knew they were there.”

Many nonprofits claim they have difficulty finding volunteers. Nassib believes it is due to a lack connection and not a lack compassion.

“Everybody wants to give back,” He stated. “It’s just a little difficult right now, but we’re going to make it as efficient as possible.”

Nassib hopes to help smaller nonprofits by offering them a way to receive donations through Rayze, so that they don’t have to build their own online collection sites. He said part of the investment from Financial Finesse Ventures would allow Rayze to match a volunteer’s skills with a nonprofit’s needs in order to address a shortage of volunteers who can help nonprofits with technology or marketing.

Social media platforms are going through a rough patch, between Elon Musk’s struggles with Twitter Facebook parent company Meta laid off 11,000 workers. Nassib, along with his backers, believe they can find an audiences.

Rayze’s new funding will support a series of new, in-person events, called “SatuRayze,” Meet nonprofit representatives from your own community.

“I want to get people out and giving back to their communities — making it a popular thing to do,” Nassib claimed. “We really just want to encourage grassroots movements. And we want to make it cultural, where it’s part of society to get up and do something.”

The first SatuRayze will be Thursday in New York City’s McCarren Park, featuring nonprofits that include the New York Police Department Foundation, The Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention and mental health services for LGBTQ youth, and Sow Good Now, which supports philanthropic athletes.

Kevin Wong, The Trevor Project’s vice president of communications, said the group was thankful for Nassib’s support. “In addition to inspiring so many young people to live their truth, he also inspires adults to accept and support the LGBTQ people in their lives,” Wong said that SatuRayze events are important for community interaction. “Acceptance from at least one adult can reduce the risk of LGBTQ youth attempting suicide by 40%.”

Rayze, Nassib believes, can make a difference in communities of all types.

“My vision is just getting people up out of their houses and involved,” He stated. “It’s just the most rewarding thing ever — being of service to other people. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, of self-worth, as opposed to looking at social media all day, which is just so crippling to your self-esteem and self-image. So we’re combatting all those negatives of social media by getting people out of their houses and giving back. It’s fun.”

_____

Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. This content is the sole responsibility of The Associated Press. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

Register for the Sunday Review Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.