Project Mailbox: Turning Coins into Change

Project Mailbox strives to provide a venue and opportunity for students to be charitable and explore philanthropy in a way that best compliments their time as students, while also giving new life to pocket change, an otherwise underutilized form of currency.

Since October 1, 2011, Project Mailbox has been an outlet for Boston University students to actively participate in charity on bustling Commonwealth Avenue.

Project Mailbox is based on a simple concept: college students donating time or money when they are able, to a cause they help choose. The organization takes a new approach to charity, one that comes without guilt or an empty wallet. The idea is that pocket change creates real change.

BU alums Nick Dougherty and Kaylee Dombrowski formulated the Project Mailbox idea as students in the spring of 2010. With the support of University Grill, the 400-pound cast-iron mailbox found its home on the restaurant’s property right in the heart of BU’s campus.

Each month, nominations are submitted to determine the next Charity of the Month, which alternates between local and international charities. Dombrowski explains this factor is important to “ensure equal opportunity for the chapter to serve its immediate and global community.” At the monthly meetings, members of the BU community come together to listen to the nominations and democratically vote for the next month’s charity.

“I think giving students the ability to connect with which charity is chosen really makes Project Mailbox unique,” says BU junior, Madeline Grimm. “It gives students a say in where the money goes and makes the process a lot more personal.”

And that is just what Project Mailbox wants to achieve. The first month Project Mailbox launched, the proceeds went to Project Habitat to provide relief to those affected by an unusual tornado in Brimfield, MA in June 2011. This location is important to Project Mailbox, as the founders discovered the mailbox at the Brimfield fair only a year before.

Richard Sieweck of the Harding Fund, a fund supported by Project Habitat, said, “[Project Mailbox’s] contribution was one of the first that we had ever received as a result of technological innovation… The effort was outstanding, as was their generosity.” Project Mailbox raised $625.59 for Project Habitat and provided relief for the devastated tornado victims.

Thus far, Project Mailbox has raised over $2,700 for seven different organizations, from tiny villages in Kenya to the city streets of Boston. The first official chapter will be launched at BU in September 2012, with plans to start the process of launching other chapters in January 2013.

Although each cent counts for Project Mailbox, the organization was founded on the thought that if each of the 16,000 undergraduate students at BU donated just a quarter a month, over $4,000 could be raised for charity. Since there are about 20 million college students in the United States, if every person donated a quarter a month, roughly $5,000,000 could be contributed to charity each month with simple pocket change.

All you have to do is think inside the box.

More About This Charity




Most Influential College Student or College Organization


Project Mailbox


  • This College Organization raised $2,778.91
  • This College Organization helped 7 organizations
  • Over 4,000 pieces of currency donated to seven different charities.

Works In

United States, Zambia, Turkey, Kenya, Peru

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