In 2012, as part of her graduate seminar requirements in Nutrition, Katie Levans volunteered at a food bank, Second Harvest Metrolina. During her time there, she developed an interest in hunger relief and thought about how best to provide food banks with money to purchase healthy food as a complement to donations, which may fall short nutritionally.
Her plan was to layer small-change charitable giving into a mobile application that leverages an already existing buyer behavior (eating in restaurants and buying groceries) into an opportunity for food-loving, tech-savvy, social philanthropists to end hunger every time they eat with a simple one-touch round-up. Hence, PlateShare was born.
In coming years, PlateShare would see an overwhelmingly positive reception and wildly successful performance at local business competitions: a finalist at Startup Weekend Charlotte, the grand prize winner at Shape Charlotte and the grand prize winner at Seed20. The concept was soft launched at the Liberty Bar and Restaurant in South End Charlotte, but faltered due to technology limitations at that time.
Recognizing PlateShare’s potential, Social Venture Partners of Charlotte (SVP), the creator and host of SEED20, reached out to Katie in late 2016 to inquire about how best to rejuvenate it. Katie, excited that there continued to be interest in her concept, turned PlateShare over to SVP in 2018.
A Board of 13 members revived the program focusing on a simpler technology solution, the Point of Sale system in restaurants. With a partnership between an existing technology tool and local restaurants, PlateShare was reborn.
Today, PlateShare is a registered 501(c)3 organization that raises money for hunger relief by crowdsourcing donations from restaurant spending.