Parents of elementary school age kids know the frustration of having to help their children sell wrapping paper, candy, and other items to raise money for their child’s school. This year, the Crabapple Lane Elementary PTO decided to skip that headache and just have parents cut a check.
As it turns out, they were happy to do so, and the school raised over $30,000. Principal Doe Evans had some fun with it as well, allowing herself to be duct taped to the wall once the $30,000 goal was met, which her students got a kick out of.
Now, a former McIntosh graduate and lifelong entrepreneur has returned to Fayette County to pilot a new program that he says will help parents raise money for their schools and school programs while also bolstering local businesses.
Gary Liu, a 1993 graduate of McIntosh, is launching the new giv360 program in Fayette County next year.
The premise of the program is very simple. Local businesses will register with giv360 and agree to direct five-percent of any sale made through the program to the school or school organization of the user’s choice.
Say you have a student in the Fayette County High School marching band and would like to raise money for them. With the giv360 program, you would register your credit card with the program and select the Fayette County High School Band as the group you want your dollars to go to.
Liu said the hope is to get as many school groups as possible registered with the program in the coming months. Likewise, he hopes to get as many local businesses involved. The idea of the program is to incentivize people to support local schools and local businesses at the same time.
“It’s basically a program to help boost the local community,” Lui told Fayette Newspapers. As an example, he pointed to high school sports programs, which get no funding from the state or federal level.
This isn’t Liu’s first venture into this type of business. He piloted a similar program in Henry County where people carried a separate card that they would have to swipe each time they made a purchase at a registered vendor. The program worked, Liu said, but it wasn’t as effective as it could have been simply because of the added hurdle of having to carry a separate card.
The giv360 program was designed to streamline that process so that a credit card can be directly registered, eliminating any hassle.
The true launch of giv360 isn’t likely to happen until around February of next year, Liu said, but he’s ambitious with his goals for the program. In the first twelve months after the program is fully live, the goal is to raise $500,000 for the schools, which would equate to $10 million in sales for local businesses.
Liu is excited to be back in Fayette County and launching this venture here. He has had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as he can remember. After graduating from Clayton State, Liu was part of founding a company called HotSauce technologies, which designed touchscreen systems for restaurants. That business blossomed and now more than 600 restaurants around Atlanta use the system, including local spots like La Hacienda and Due South.
Liu moved on from that success in 2009 to get involved in payment services, working with Priority Payments East Coast. That field dovetailed with the idea for giv360, his newest venture.
Maybe the best way to get a handle on exactly how the giv360 program will work is to visit the website. There are some helpful explainer videos online at www.giv360.com, with separate videos for prospective users and vendors.