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Carl Nassib & Rayze: Connecting Non-profits for Greater Good

Boardroom hears from the Bucs linebacker about creating and growing an innovative social networking platform for activists and volunteers.

The last thing you’d expect to see on a blustery Thursday afternoon earlier this month at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park is an NFL linebacker in a bright yellow t-shirt joyously and enthusiastically collecting litter off the ground with a mechanical trash-grabber.

It was the debut event for Rayze, a company founded by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Carl Nassib that helps participating non-profits and volunteers connect by displaying them all on detailed, geolocated maps and by putting local events together across the US within a social media-style platform. Armed with seed funding and incubation support from financial wellness coaching provider Financial Finesse Ventures from between $500,000 and $1.5 million, Rayze is looking to rapidly expand and turn volunteering and community work into a more accessible exercise.

Nassib, 29, had a moving experience four years ago when volunteering at a juvenile delinquent center in Tampa.

“There were kids as young as 13 years old in jail cells, and a lot of them were just there for running from a violent environment,” Nassib told Boardroom. “What was shocking was a half a mile from where I went to work every day. So I said there needs to be an app out there where you can find every volunteering opportunity in your neighborhood to and from your way to work. A month after that experience, I got Rayze trademarked.”

Boots on the ground in Brooklyn (Photo courtesy of Rayze)

Nassib’s passion also stemmed from being connected with great non-profits, and having passionate friends who he wanted to connect with worthy causes. Liz Davidson, Financial Finesse’s founder and CEO, was also at this event and called Rayze’s idea a slam dunk that met all the criteria to be the company’s first investment as part of its newly-launched venture arm.

“The social impact of this, it’s tremendous for volunteers, mental health, charities, and the concept of providing, and giving,” Davidson told Boardroom. “I’ve seen Carl’s tenacity, passion, intelligence, and charitability. It’s a good business model, and he’s the guy that can take it the distance.”

Rayze will get 1% of all the donations processed through its growing app and website. And non-profits will be able to leverage Rayze’s app clip to give within stores and fundraisers. And as corporate giving grows, especially during the holidays, more companies are utilizing financial giving as part of their overall health and wellness program for employees, Davidson said, allowing Rayze to scale things rather quickly.

Doing well and good at the same time while finding revenue streams that both accelerate this social mission without compromising it is a hard needle to thread. That’s why Davidson is providing Nassib and Rayze tech and marketing support so he can juggle a growing company with focusing on playing his best for the Bucs.

Nassib also trademarked the term “Saturayze” to promote what he hopes will turn into recurring volunteering and charitable community service events all over the country on the first Saturday of every month. He’s also working on a feature within Rayze’s app to automate the waiver and sign-up process so that when volunteers get to events, they can skip the lines and the paperwork and get right into the action.

Nassib is projecting 10,000 app downloads by month’s end and hopes to have thousands of non-profits and millions of users on board within the first year.

The first openly gay active player in NFL history to appear in a game, Nassib is enjoying a productive season with Tampa Bay, his seventh in the league, with 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery so far in 2022. He registered a half sack and a tackle for loss Sunday in the Bucs’ overtime loss in Cleveland, playing in a season-high 35 total snaps across defense and special teams.

“It’s a blessing to have played this long and I have great teammates, great coaches,” Nassib said. “I just try to do my job and contribute as much as I can. We’ve got a great locker room, and I’ve got nothing but love.”

Day by day, as he gets closer to his 30s and a post-playing career, Nassib very much looks the part of a man finding his calling in bringing great minds and able hands together in volunteering, charitable giving, and community work.

“I just feel like I was put on this earth to do this and to make it accessible for people to start their own grassroots movements, to start as small philanthropists, and really get involved,” Nassib said. “It’s the most rewarding thing ever, being of service to other people. I feel very lucky to just work with so many passionate people who are dedicating their lives to serving others. It’s the most motivating thing in the world.” 

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