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September 22. 2013 9:59PM

Hollis-based website provides forum for good deeds

HOLLIS — As a former account executive with a specialty pharmacy, Chris Wheeler often witnessed families struggling to make ends meet because of a medical hardship.

Too many times, Wheeler worked with individuals dealing with an unexpected illness or life-altering accident that was not fully covered by health insurance.

“These people have significant out-of-pocket costs that really add up. Some of these families are not well off, and they simply cannot afford it,” said Wheeler, who decided to abandon his 9-to-5 job to build a new business that he believes will offer hope for those in need.

Each day, people are facing real dilemmas where they must choose between feeding their families, paying their medical bills or taking their sick dog to the veterinarian.

Dedicating Dollars is a new online site that is helping individuals raise enough money to afford all of their mishaps, bills and dreams. Wheeler, of Hollis, created the crowdfunding site as a way of giving back to the people who desperately need a helping hand, he said.

“Online fundraisers are a great way to promote a worthy cause, especially because they can be blasted throughout many social media outlets,” said Wheeler, 42.

For cancer patients who must travel into Boston for medical services three times a week, there are many underlying costs that can really add up, according to Wheeler. Fuel, lodging and food can become costly, he said.

“Unfortunately, in the news, we see tragic events happening all of the time, and unexpected deaths can cost families thousands of dollars in funeral and burial costs that were not anticipated,” he said, adding Dedicating Dollars can help families raise money to assist financially with some unfortunate situations.

Dedicating Dollars has been up and running since July when a soft launch of the website was initiated. A more formal launch is expected in the coming weeks.

So far, there are nearly 10 fundraisers already posted on the site, and Wheeler is optimistic the business will flourish once people begin to understand the concept.

“There are some seriously huge fundraising companies out there that we are up against, but we are based in New Hampshire, and I think the state will support us as a local company,” said Wheeler. “Whatever people raise, they will keep. There is no goal to meet in order to obtain the money, and I am not withholding any money from these folks.”

While there is an 8 percent fee charge, Wheeler said the 8 percent is not kept by Dedicating Dollars but rather used to pay credit card fees.

“That is a very competitive fee, and I am proud of that,” he added.

Wheeler has four employees who are paid hourly, and are available to help with the technical aspect of the website and editing assistance for individual campaigns.
Clients are able to post photos, a mission statement, a goal amount to be raised and an explanation of what the money will be used for on their own individual web page posted on the Dedicating Dollars site. Fundraising organizers and members of the public may then access the specific fundraisers and forward links onto Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to notify people of the cause.

Donors can then contribute toward the fundraiser using their credit card on a secure site.

Ray Brouillette, co-owner of Peaceworks Animal Sanctuary in Bedford, is spending a minimum of $2,000 per month in operational costs to care for several rescue dogs and horses housed at his 13-acre property.

“We are not a shelter. We are saving sick animals and nursing them back to health,” said Brouillette. “Some of these dogs have been abused and are emaciated, and need immediate medical care. Everything we do requires money, but it is worth every penny.”

Hoping to raise funds for Peaceworks Animal Sanctuary, Brouillette recently created a fundraising campaign that has been posted on the Dedicating Dollars website.

The sanctuary is hoping to receive some pit bulls that were recently rescued from a pit-bull fighting ring raid in Texas, according to Brouillette, who said incredibly sick dogs could rack up a price-tag of nearly $2,500 to make healthy, especially if surgery is necessary.

“What we do is very expensive,” he said, adding it is also very necessary in a world where animal abuse occurs too often and penalties for the crime are anything but severe.

Brouillette is optimistic that Dedicating Dollars will serve as an outlet that could potentially provide financial hope for his animal rescue efforts. To learn more about Dedicating Dollars, visit www.dedicatingdollars.com.
khoughton@newstote.com


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