MyFriendBen was created by Gary Community Ventures, the legacy of Colorado philanthropists Sam and Nancy Gary.
We co-designed MyFriendBen with a group of Colorado families who are participating in a direct cash assistance program. Families told us it was difficult and time-consuming to know what benefits they were entitled to. Our goal is to increase benefit participation rates by making key information - like dollar value and time to apply - more transparent, accessible, and accurate.
In Winter 2022, we partnered with nonprofit organizations to use MyFriendBen in a real-world setting. Benefit navigators used the tool with their clients, and we incorporated feedback from navigators and clients. From this testing phase, we learned that MyFriendBen is:
- Fast and accurate. We have taken a 45-minute process and shortened it to 8 minutes and still maintained accuracy (91% accurate on eligibility).
- Helpful. 46% of users who completed the screener went on to apply for an additional benefit.
- Informative. We are able to shine a light on lesser-known programs such as reduced-cost Internet access. Approximately 30% of users applied for either Internet Lifeline or Internet ACP.