Why are you a for-profit company?

One word: flexibility. The reporting requirements for non-profits are necessarily rigourous and at this time we are focused on building a useful product.

Empulse is a non-profit product of the for-profit company todreamalife, LLC. With this structure, todreamalife takes 1% of the funds donated through the app (far less than many non-profits) to maintain delivery of the product. But the company retains the ability to execute it’s vision at it’s own discretion.

Why the crumpled dollar?

Drea put herself through undergraduate school as a pizza delivery person. To make extra money she used a ‘tip dollar’, a torn and tattered dollar bill placed at the top of a pile of change. Most customers would return the ugly dollar in disgust and this equated to about $150 a month, enough to cover her rent at the time.

Empulse is founded on the idea that a virtual dollar, spent wisely, can make a difference. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is when a small change has global repercussions for a complex system.

Why do you collect location data?

To provide aggregate data on basic needs to community planners and non-profits. We believe homelessness is solved in the community, but it can be funded more flexibly.

While the app is designed to make giving easy and pleasurable, it also gives those who are digitally silent a voice — in their city and in public data.

Do you think its going to make a difference?

Honestly we don’t know. We just wanted to try and find out.

Where did the idea come from?

Drea was late for a dinner meeting after a long hospital shift. Her current clinical rotation included many unhoused people. She saw a homeless man who asked for money to buy food. She wanted to give him the money, but after a long day treating people suffering the effects of addiction she didn’t feel comfortable putting more money out on the street. She had just bought a song using Shazam with ApplePay and thought “Why can’t it be that simple?”

How do I pitch in more?

You’re welcome to pitch in. Just contact us for ways to contribute.


Can be sent to the company address.


We’ve always got use for researchers.