Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt Share How They Started Nonprofit Get Shift Done Amidst a Pandemic

What started as an idea with backing from community organizers and restaurant owners, Get Shift Done has rallied support to give meals and livelihoods to at-risk groups in 11 cities.

Get Shift Done is an initiative formed during COVID-19 that connects displaced hospitality workers with nonprofits to serve and provide hunger relief to 11 cities across the United States. In just 90 days of existence, Get Shift Done served 40 million meals to at-risk groups and gave livelihoods, at $10 per hour, to more than 20,000 laid-off hospitality professionals. 

Moderated by Ann Montgomery, United Way’s VP of Innovation & Design for Metropolitan Dallas, Get Shift Done founders Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt spoke during a Dallas Startup Week session about “Starting a Nonprofit in Times of Crisis.” 

Through a collaboration with the Communities Foundation of Texas, Jain and Brandt, who both hold executive positions in the for-profit world as their day jobs, found time to raise funds that put people in North Texas back to work. 

Get Shift Done COVID-19

Anurag Jain

The national nonprofit has only arranged corporate strategies through the end of the year. Though Jain, who is the chairman of the North Texas Food Bank, calls Get Shift Done “magic,” he identifies the humility that came from plans crumbling due to COVID. 

“It’s impossible at this point to predict too far ahead,” Jain said during the event. “In fact, time is no longer linear in the marketplace mindset, so we’re taking it in chunks.” 

Bringing industry knowledge as his means to create philanthropic ends, Jain quantifies startup success. 

“There are nine things that are important: the right idea, passion, processing, fundraising, technology, collaboration, scaling, governance, and your team,” Jain said. “Even with all these pieces, for five months now, we’ve spent countless hours, eating, and dreaming this thing.” 

Get Shift Done COVID-19

Patrick Brandt

Jain declares Dallas as exceptional in facing the ramifications of the healthcare crisis head-on and cites the city as an inspiration in the enterprise. 

“I have never seen so many people come together that quickly to keep people safe,” Jain said. 

Meeting a critical challenge at a critical time, the pair rose above the tests of the pandemic-produced recession to mobilize resources and partners. Before long, the local startup scaled operations nationally from New Orleans to Washington D.C. 

Get Shift Done utilizes partnerships with the likes of Capital One, Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation, Access Healthcare, and Shiftsmart, as well as seed funding and technology to offer a program that can be launched in any location. Having attained national recognition, the duo still believes that no job is too small for either founder. 

“As an entrepreneur and a product visionary, you have to be all in and be there,” Brandt, who is also the president of Shiftsmart, said. “If it doesn’t work on day one, you’ll certainly never get to day 100.”

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