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Olivia Nicolaus 392 Views

Relationships are critical to our happiness and overall wellbeing, but loneliness is increasing in the United States, particularly among young people. It can be very difficult to meet people and form meaningful friendships, especially when you first move to a new city. Existing solutions such as friends of friends, Meetups, and friend-matching apps often fall short on creating meaningful, lasting connections.

We recruit groups of young, passionate people and bring them together for a series of in-person experiences over eight weeks. Homecity activities include a cook-off, group hike, storytelling night, neighborhood tour, and volunteer day. Our program is designed using social psychology principles to enable individual friendships and forge community within the group.

We’ve hosted successful pilots in Baltimore and Cleveland and are anticipating the launch of a larger program in Detroit!


Program participants are the primary beneficiaries and central focus of Homecity. We believe people who have a relationship network and feel a sense of belonging in a city are more empowered to pursue their dreams and create positive change in their communities.

Companies, governments, and urban residents also benefit as talented young people put down roots and invest in their cities. We’re focusing on 2nd and 3rd tier cities because individuals are less likely to have established networks.

What I Will Do With $5,000

So far in our development we’ve been recruiting program participants through referrals and word of mouth. This funding will allow us to create a set of recruiting tools to reach a broader and more diverse group of people for our launch in Detroit.

These tools include a revamped website, printed collateral, and supplies for a guerilla marketing campaign in order to recruit 100 participants for our Detroit program.

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About Olivia Nicolaus

We are a two person team - Olivia Nicolaus & MJ Wilson. We’re both finishing up a fellowship program called Venture for America, which connects recent graduates with jobs at startups, forging a community of entrepreneurs committed to building companies that matter. Olivia graduated from UNC where she studied economics, and MJ graduated from Duke where she studied psychology. Olivia now lives in Baltimore and MJ in Cleveland.

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