From HAVOC to helping hands, these VCU Rams have big plans to assist nonprofits

RICHMOND, Va. — Two members of VCU’s 2011 Final Four men’s basketball squad are drawing up a new game plan in the nonprofit sector. D.J. Haley and Rob Brandenberg are working to launch Empower Card, an online platform that will connect consumers and businesses to funnel portions of debit or credit card purchases to participating nonprofits.

Upon its launch, as planned for next year, Empower Card users will be able to send 5 percent of their purchases at registered businesses to various nonprofits that Haley and Brandenberg are working to get into the Empower Card system.

“We are focused on increasing awareness for nonprofits,” Haley said. “Our initial scope is based in Richmond. Our long-term plan is to expand up and down the East Coast.”

There are four nonprofits registered to receive funds from Empower Card once it launches: VCU Alumni, Beds for Kids, Autism Society of Central Virginia and Friends Association for Children.

The company is then betting that participating businesses would also benefit from the goodwill of being involved in charity and from marketing campaigns that Empower Card will blast out to its users promoting the participating businesses.

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