UF grad creates platform to inspire community financial support

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Sivaruli is a crowd-funding platform for basic income. It's an online platform that was started only a few months ago by UF graduate, Nick Kobakhidze. To donate, you go online, choose the monthly amount you'd like to donate, and the funds will be redistributed to a member of your community in need.

“We randomly select applicants. We follow up on them, get to know their story, what issues they are facing, what they would use the money for, and then we select candidates," Kobakhidze said.

It's an idea that the UF grad thought of years ago but has brought to life just this year … and it’s already gotten attention worldwide.

"With COVID-19, there’s been a lot more financially distressed people … a lot of people have been laid off and filing for unemployment. For example ... in Brooklyn, to California, to Miami, to Minnesota, there’s a lot of people that are applying," Kobakhidze said.

As long as you have a phone, tablet or computer, the process is simple. All you have to do is head to the website and click on donate or apply.

If you're wondering where the money is going to or coming from -- the guarantee is that all donations remain within your own community.

"If you’re a resident of Alachua, all the funds raised in Alachua County will stay in Alachua County. So, it’s a way of not only bringing the community together but also to maximize the effect of a basic income," Kobakhidze said.

Kobakhidze hopes the platform will provide important information and data for research on global issues like poverty, substance abuse, and crime.

"Instead of dispersing the funds to different parts of the country, we can concentrate it … we can study what happens to certain communities. Is there reduced crime? Is there less hospitalizations? The evidence does address that, through the experiments that have been run around the world … there are positive affects of this,” Kobakhidze said.

But with all money matters aside, the true mission of the platform lies in the name.

"I was born in the country Georgia. I was thinking of a name and chose Sivaruli, which means 'love' in Georgian. I thought it was a good feeling, good idea because people are spreading love, supporting one another," Kobakhidze said.