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Wake Forest Start-Up Empowers Non-Profits to Change the World

 
 
 

Sugar Maple Interactive LLC is a Wake Forest, N.C. start-up creating a major global impact. In 2015, the organization’s CEO and founder, David McWilliams, used a niche interest in software to develop REACH, a service that helps manage nonprofit donor management, child sponsorship, text-to-give campaigns, and fundraising efforts for a global client base of nearly 200 businesses. 

 In 2016, REACH was used to fund the purchase of over 370 mattresses, blankets, and mosquito nets for families in Mawanga, Uganda.

In 2016, REACH was used to fund the purchase of over 370 mattresses, blankets, and mosquito nets for families in Mawanga, Uganda.

In the two years since the launch of the software platform, a growing base of diverse organizations have integrated REACH into their work. With the help of REACH, these organizations have funded numerous international projects that empower communities through self-reliance and entrepreneurship, assist widows and orphans, dig water wells in developing countries, support child sponsorship programs for orphanages, and power text-to-give campaigns for nonprofits. On a local level, REACH supported a campaign to raise funds to purchase technology for an elementary school right here in Wake Forest.

“Last year, we had an organization use REACH for their end-of-year fundraiser to buy every widow and orphan in a Ugandan village a mattress, blanket, and mosquito net to protect them from malaria,” said McWilliams. “Previously, they were sleeping on dirt floors, but because of the fundraising campaign, nearly 400 of them were gifted these basic needs. This year, the same organization is raising funds to build a community center to provide literacy, farming, savings and loans, and entrepreneurship classes to these women.”

Hippo Valley Christian Mission is another organization using REACH’s software. Their operations manager, Brittany Wisecup, said in a review that, “...for a small mission group based out of Zimbabwe, and a sponsorship that grew faster than we were prepared for, REACH has been a lifesaver. We are thankful for this program that is a perfect fit for our nonprofit.”

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In 2007, McWilliams and his wife co-founded Sugar Maple Interactive LLC as a marketing and software solutions provider. Eight years later, in 2015, McWilliams and his five-person team of creative technologists launched REACH after realizing a need within the nonprofit community to simplify fundraising. 

As an entrepreneur, McWilliams has found Wake Forest, North Carolina, to be place where he can be both successful, and enjoy a great quality of life. Since launching his growing business, like many other start-ups and technology companies in the community, he has found a diverse pool of talent readily available in Wake Forest, where more than 50% of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

“I want entrepreneurs to see Wake Forest as a thriving community where there’s not a shortage of talent needed to help them develop their business,” McWilliams said.

David, his wife Katie, and their children moved to Wake Forest from Raleigh in 2013. “We wanted a change in the pace of life,” he said. “We thought that the schools, and the community in general, were better suited to our family style than what we were seeing in Raleigh. It was crowded, noisy, and we were wanting something a little different, a little slower pace with a more community feel.”

Within the next two years, McWilliams expects to outgrow his current office at Wake Forest Coworking Space, and to double his employee count to 10 people. With the non-profit’s expected growth, he plans to expand his client base and begin expanding opportunities to help a wide range of schools in fundraising. 

For information on entrepreneurs, business, and opportunities in Wake Forest, visit www.discoverwakeforest.org.