Silver Seal from GuideStar (Candid)
Brighten the Corner is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity changing the lives of homeless people through friendship. Brighten the Corner is fully approved by the IRS to receive tax-deductible donations; and we’ve earned a Silver Seal from Candid (formerly GuideStar), the premier source of information on nonprofit organizations.
The History of Brighten the Corner
In 2021 we started reaching out to homeless people on the streets and in the parks in the downtown area. We soon added live, interactive music and nutritious snack packs of protein bars, fruit bars, and meal replacement bars, as well as our knack for making friends with anyone of any background or in any situation. We formally organized as a nonprofit and were officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity in early 2022.
Every week we make direct, on-the-street contact with the needy, serving hot meals along with nutritious snack packs, and we distribute clothes, shoes, blankets, backpacks, sleeping bags, and roll-up pads to go under the sleeping bags. Most of all, we share encouragement, a listening ear, motivational thoughts, and unconditional friendship with those who need it most. We spend several hours with them each week building one-on-one relationships and gaining their trust. Through those friendships, we have already helped several homeless people get off the street.
We try to connect them with appropriate social services agencies and we partner with an organization that seeks to place them in jobs. We hope to expand our outreach to other locations such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and prisons. Read more on our facebook page.
How We Make a Difference
We provide charitable community services–such as sharing happiness, friendship, live music, free haircuts, nutrition, a sense of dignity, and necessities such as clothing–for relief of the poor, the distressed, and the underprivileged, such as homeless people. Not only do we reach out to them directly on the street every week, but we also visit them in the hospital if they get sick or in jail if they get arrested. We also provide flowers to cheer up people who are ill or lonely, such as hospital patients, nursing home residents, and shut-ins. We are glad to brighten their day, and we are grateful to the anonymous florist who sponsors and prepares the flowers.
Many of our homeless friends sleep directly on the sidewalk with nothing but a piece of cardboard or a thin blanket under them (or with nothing at all, just the bare concrete). They need sleeping bags and portable air mattresses or light-weight foam camping pads (which roll up and are easy to carry) to provide at least a little padding above the concrete. They need wagons to carry their belongings, and bicycles to get around town to look for jobs; and it is also helpful to have cargo racks over the rear wheel.
They can also benefit through your monetary donations to help us purchase nutritious, vitamin-rich meal-replacement shakes, as well as shoes, clothes, and personal care items, and of course food, water, and socks.
Another need is to have additional volunteers who are licensed professional barbers and hair stylists to help us provide the monthly haircuts that mean so much to our homeless friends. Having a clean-cut appearance can change the way they feel and the way other people view them and treat them. It is amazing what a difference a haircut and shave can make.
If you are interested in making a difference in the community, there are many ways you can help. We welcome volunteers who care about others, who like to listen, and who are willing to commit to helping us serve our homeless friends on a regular basis — because the people we serve need to see reliability and consistency. You can help us change lives, one person at a time, through friendship, nutrition, encouragement, hope, and love.
Our slogan is “Brighten the corner where you are!” Inspired by the old song “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” (made famous by the legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald), Brighten the Corner is a nonsectarian, nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity organization with a mission of sharing compassion, encouragement, and hope wherever we are. We want to love our neighbor as ourselves, like the proverbial Good Samaritan who recognized that anyone in need is our neighbor. We focus on building friendships with disadvantaged people while sharing conversation, live music, water and nutritious food, clothing, hygiene items, and other necessities, and also providing nondenominational spiritual care and encouragement, while promoting a sense of dignity, self-respect, self-esteem, and purpose.
Our focus is on serving the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, the underserved, the less-fortunate, the downtrodden, the forgotten, and the oppressed. While our primary effort is currently on direct, on-the-street outreach to homeless people, other examples of people we serve may include nursing home residents; orphans and widows; disadvantaged students; incarcerated people; and victims of poverty, hunger, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, discrimination, and injustice.
We want to bring hope to the hopeless. Our ultimate goal is to empower them to rise above their negative circumstances by assisting them, directly or through partnerships with other organizations, with obtaining employment, housing, education, healthcare, nondenominational spiritual care, and social services—and having hope for a better, healthier, happier future.
This is our full logo, which has meaning and symbolism:
The sunshine represents the light of joy, happiness, and freedom. The heart, of course, represents love. Together, they symbolize our mission of brightening the corner where we are by sharing nutrition, friendship, love, and hope.
Our homeless friends immediately recognize this logo on our T-shirts, and they know it represents someone who genuinely cares about them.
Brighten the Corner’s Philosophy
The philosophy of Brighten the Corner as to helping people experiencing homelessness, is summed up in this quote:
“Always be kind.
If you see someone falling behind, walk beside them.
If someone is being ignored, find a way to include them.
If someone has fallen, lift them up.
Always remind people of their worth.
one word of encouragement,
one small act of kindness,
could mean the world to them.”
Please consider supporting the mission of Brighten the Corner and help us make the world a brighter place for all.
Our Mission and Goals
To build friendships
To restore dignity and self-respect
To provide nutrition and water
To give blankets and sleeping bags
To share music and smiles
To encourage and inspire
To cheer up with flowers
To bring hope to the hopeless
Brighten the Corner’s Impact Is Clearly Felt
of Friendships Formed