When you think of fundraising for charities, you might envision a fancy gala, a sponsored golf tournament, and… Gift cards? For Kathy Selders and Marchelle Sellers, gift cards were the untapped $149 billion dollar market for helping to drive money towards charities — and one that become a bonafide business when they founded Charity On Top. Read on to find out more about Kathy and Marchelle and their Pasadena, CA-based B Corp.
A look at Charity On Top’s humble beginnings: “ Charity On Top makes social change by using gift cards to drive more dollars to charity. Marchelle and I have been in the nonprofit sector together for more than 20 years. We know that charities are doing the heavy lifting, yet fundraising is so difficult. Galas, grants, and golf tournaments only do so much. We sounded like a cliché infomercial, ‘There’s got to be a better way!’ So, we decided to tap into the $149 billion gift card market to raise money for charities. We sell Charity On Top gift cards that are only redeemable for the benefit of a charity. Our gift cards are customizable, they come in digital as well as plastic, and they never expire.”
Why social good drives us as a B Corp: “Being a B Corp is perfectly in line with our values. Social good is what drives each of us personally, and it is the whole point of Charity On Top. As a corporation, our primary responsibility is making the world a better place. Profits are a means to that end. There is never any doubt about the priorities.”
How a thank you note changed everything for us: “A huge feeling of success came when we received our first thank you letter from a charity. It included a drawing from a little girl named Reese who is able to take dance lessons thanks to the Arizona Friends for Foster Children Foundation. It was our full-circle moment! Because someone bought a Charity On Top gift card and gave it as a gift, then the recipient of that gift chose for the donation to go to the AFFCF, Reese gets to take dance lessons! Receiving that sweet drawing from Reese was confirmation that our plan is working. Our gift cards are making a difference!”
The simple way we can “B The Change” daily: “Every day we are making it easy and fun for people to be philanthropic.”
If you want to become a B Corp… “Truly consider what the primary goal is for your corporation. If it is to make money, choose another structure. If contributing to social good is first, and if it will always be first, then do it! And hire an attorney who understands B Corps!”
Why every company has the power to become a B Corp: “The B Revolution, as our attorney calls it, will definitely continue to grow. It was an obvious option for Charity On Top, but all companies have an impact, regardless of what they sell or do. The B Corp structure gives people an opportunity to formally align their intentions of doing good with their business practices. This resonates with business founders, investors, and consumers.”
About Charity On Top
Charity On Top was inspired by some friends who wondered. They wondered how they could share their love for charity. They wondered how they could put the joy of giving into people’s hands. They wondered what would happen if giving to charity was as easy as giving a gift card, and what if choosing a charity that they cared about was as easy as clicking a button. So, they created a B Corp and a foundation that marry the profitable world of gift giving, with the meaningful world of donating to charity!
About Kathy Selders and Marchelle Sellers, Founders of Charity On Top
Marchelle L. Sellers, is the co-founder and past Executive Director (2003-2008) of the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and was awarded Most Inspirational Executive Director of the Year in 2007 by both the State Assembly and Senator’s offices. She is a resident of South Pasadena, is a past President of the South Pasadena Rotary Club (2013-2014) and in 2015 was awarded Rotarian of the Year. She is a past commissioner for the City of Pasadena’s Accessibility & Disability Commission and is a current member of Vistage, a CEO mentorship group. Marchelle attended PCC and then USC, and received her MBA from Ashford University with a focus in international management. Four years ago, THE Magazine recognized Marchelle as one of the top 50 women in the San Gabriel Valley and three years ago Marchelle was awarded the Top Nonprofit Executive by Los Angeles Business Journal. She is the mother of two sons, Graham, and Reese. Graham attends Southwestern Academy in San Marino, and Reese, who is now in heaven, is the inspiration behind everything she does. His name is engraved in the South Pasadena Healing Garden, and the fully-accessible park in Pasadena developed by the accessibility commission, located behind the aquatic center, is aptly named “Reese’s Retreat” in his memory. After leading Burbank-based Mending Kids International (2009-2017), a global children’s charity, Marchelle and her business partner Kathy Selders launched Charity On Top in 2016, a Pasadena-based nonprofit that sells gift cards that can only be redeemed for charities and helps facilitate donations to 1.8 million charities.
Kathy Selders is the co-founder of the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and Charity on Top, a Pasadena-based non-profit that sells gift cards that can only be redeemed as charitable donations. As a previous marriage and family therapist with her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Pepperdine, Kathy has always been passionate about helping families be their best selves. Fundraising and volunteering are in her blood. During her time as an undergraduate student at Cal State Fullerton, Kathy personally raised $1 million for the annual fund. Now as the Gala Co-Chair at Mending Kids, a global children’s charity, she helps raise money to give children around the world a chance at a better life. Volunteering has become a family affair for Kathy. Her husband Tim and their 17-year-old daughter Cali provide a support system for Kathy to continue making a difference. The three volunteered for Mending Kids in Guatemala where they supported 108 life-changing surgeries in just one week. Kathy has also given her time to the Peace and Justice Academy, Walden School, Elizabeth House, AYSO, National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses, Destination Imagination and LifeSavers among other community organizations. She founded Charity on Top with her business partner Marchelle Sellers to connect gift giving with donating and philanthropy, bringing her knack for fundraising to 1.8 million charities.
This has been a Fantastic B Corps post, MyCorporation’s salute to the entity that gives back to business and society. Join us biweekly for a glimpse at the entrepreneurs using their small business to “B The Change” in this global movement for good.