Around March of this year, a buzz around a rising star among the black tech community with a food hunger app began. Soon, a few major outlets picked up on the buzz and began featuring write-ups about this new app and its founder, Jasmine Crowe.
Later, following features in Black Enterprise, on The Huffington Post, and on Blavity, Crowe has welcomed opportunities to spread the good news of her app Goodr to venture capitalists and angel investors throughout the country.
Four weeks ago, in a crowded auditorium at the Rialto Center for the Arts, Crowe gave her first TEDx talk, discussing in detail the topic of, “Hunger is a question of logistics; not scarcity.” In a few weeks, a stream of Crowe’s talk will be released to the public on YouTube.
In the 20-minute presentation, she outlined the work she’s doing to fight hunger through Atlanta and the process for building a food waste management app in a tech space that isn’t exactly kind to women or in addressing issues of poverty.
Goodr was created to “combat food waste and hunger by collecting food from restaurants and businesses” that Crowe and her team can then use to feed the homeless.
The app works in real time and the company uses a commercial kitchen that allows her to store the food to be prepped for serving.
“I just believe that everyone deserves to eat,” Crowe said during a taping of a video segment with The Atlanta Voice. “I didn’t start researching food waste until 2016, and that’s when the idea for Goodr came to me.”
Navigating through the tech industry as a black woman is a new challenge she has taken on. “Black women receive less than 0.03 percent of all funding that comes out of VC firms & investments,” Crowe said.
But she’s driven by a deeper understanding of how important it is for her to do what she is doing while giving back. So, she’s developed a thick skin has learned to use social peer pressure to network in this industry.
With all the renewed interested in Crowe’s work with Goodr, one might wonder where this “rising” star has emerged from. But Crowe is no stranger to doing the word of helping others.
In fact, Crowe has been fighting against hunger around the city of Atlanta since 2013.
“When I came to Atlanta in 2013, I drove through downtown Atlanta where I came across the Pine Street Shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets,” she explained. “At that time it was really, really highly populated with homeless men and women.
“It dawned on me that I could do the same kind of feedings we were doing in Phoenix. So I just began,” she continued.
Crowe’s first stab at combatting hunger in this city was called Sunday Soul, a program that, to date, has served more than 40,000 among Atlanta’s homeless community. The first Sunday Soul event took place in Atlanta in 2013.
Themed as a pop-up restaurant for the city’s homeless community, Crowe set out to create an experience that would be a sit-down dinner so she and her team could connect with others who didn’t have a table of their own.
Crowe, with the help of a few volunteers, would shop for the food that she would later cook herself into a warm, five-course home-cooked buffet to serve hundreds of attendees at Sunday Soul. In addition to the meal, Sunday Soul also offered free grooming and hair cutting services, and music played by a DJ on site. The affair has been likened to a family reunion.
From there, she expanded on the concept, or, rather, the concept itself blossomed. Soon, Crowe and her volunteers would take the Sunday Soul concept on the road with events in Washington D.C., Baltimore and even the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
By 2016, a recap reel highlighting Sunday Soul started to go viral on Facebook. Six million views later, Crowe said she had a realization.
“There were comments from all these viewers asking, ‘Which restaurants donated the food?’” she explained. “The truth is there were none.”
So she thought, Why aren’t the restaurants donating the food instead of me spending 25 hours to prep & cook meals for this? And then her wheels really started to turn.
But that’s not all Crowe has been up to over the years.
The former military kid who earned her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, before joining her family in Phoenix, where they eventually settled, also obtained her master’s degree in nonprofit management from Arizona State University.
Along the way, around 2007, she met and befriended a former beauty queen, Kim Anderson. Anderson once held the title of Miss Black Arizona.
In 2016, the pair together created the national Little Miss Black U.S. Pageant after hosting a state version in Arizona. This foray into the world of young pageantry led to a four-episode spin-off of the Toddlers & Tiaras brand called, “Little Miss Atlanta.”
Crowe also founded Black Celebrity Giving, a media platform she created in 2011 to shine a spotlight on black celebrity philanthropists and community organizations. Crowe’s site showcases goodwill and positive doings in the black communities around the world.
In the six years since it has been founded, the site has become a repository for news, videos, and photos of celebrity philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and causes that directly correlate with the black community.
Black Celebrity Giving also partners with celebrities in or stopping through Atlanta to support the community. Sunday Soul was only one of many such initiatives Crowe has created to support various pockets of the community.
Crowe said she founded the site to address “a lack of media coverage for black celebrities doing positive things to impact our communities.”
Black Celebrity Giving has hosted activations in more than 20 US cities and the UK and Haiti and has collected and donated over 2 million items to causes worldwide.
This week, Crowe and Black Celebrity Giving have traveled to South Africa in advance of its weeklong second annual service and mission trip. From Nov. 5-12, Crowe’ and her team will be will host a number of mission events benefitting a local village, rural communities, the arts, women and children and much more.
When she returns, she immediately shifts focus back to Goodr, which has partnered for an event with Future’s Free Wishes Foundation, for its annual Golden Wishes Holiday Gala, which will welcome 300-plus senior citizens from around the Atlanta metro area.
Before the event, Free Wishes and Goodr are hosting two food large food drives. Then, at the event, they will provide the seniors with a hot meal and provide them with meal kits afterward.
Then, in spite of all she has going on, Crowe still found time to write a children’s book, titled, “Giving is Good,” which teaches youth the importance of giving back. She also shared that she plans to open Atlanta’s first standalone soup kitchen by year’s end.
Crowe attributes her passion for helping to an example set by her father. “My dad inspired me to be the giver that I am,” she said. “I was always invested in spending time with him, doing things, and getting involved.”
She added, “He taught me,’People don’t forget what you do for them.'”