For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Girdwood (517) 230-5288

Creating Consumer-Driven Disaster Recovery for Small Businesses

Valencia, Calif - September 24, 2014 - When disaster strikes, small business owners watch sales plummet. Earthquakes, floods, or man-made disasters can wipe out a customer base that took years of work to build. Recovery Pledge solves this problem by connecting small businesses with customers immediately after a disaster.

Christopher Girdwood witnessed the turmoil small business owners experience while he worked in New Orleans during the 2010 Deepwater Oil Spill. In a disaster, nonprofit groups like the Red Cross can bring in needed water, canned food, and blankets and the federal government can provide low-interest loans. Customers are lost, though, and local businesses are devastated.

"Companies can't pay back a loan, even a low-interest one, if there are no customers," says Christopher, a native of Detroit, Michigan who works in economic development and urban planning.

He is based in Valencia, California and his solution is Recovery Pledge, a social enterprise that connects small businesses with customers around the nation.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a natural or man-made disaster never reopen. Christopher believes consumers will direct their buying habits to support disaster-stricken companies if given the opportunity.

"A private sector approach to disaster recovery can compliment the work of charitable organizations," he says.

Local businesses in New Orleans and those he has met in Los Angeles have responded with enthusiasm.

The next step to make Recovery Pledge a viable platform on a national scale is the development of an e-commerce site allowing consumers to purchase from the businesses that sign on. Shoppers can purchase recovery pledges, which are vouchers for the goods and services small businesses sell on a daily basis. This creates operating cash despite a disaster.

Shoppers will be able to follow the business in its recovery process and the website will show where in the country the purchases are made.

Recovery Pledge is in the final two weeks of an campaign to raise $7,500 to build the social enterprise platform.

"The goal is to stabilize sales. This also sustains a tax base and helps the entire community."

Christopher's professional background in public-private partnerships with the Department of Defense and work with the International Economic Development Council in Washington, D.C. makes him an ideal interview on the topic.

Contact him directly at 517-230-5288 and via or the Indiegogo Recovery Pledge campaign page.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

Earlier this year we held a number of interviews with small business owners in the Gulf. These conversations helped us rebuild our customer acquisition strategy to better communicate our value proposition. 

C. Girdwood also spoke at a crowdfunding event organized by Innovate Pasadena. Below are a few pictures of the panel.    

We are preparing to launch another crowdfunding campaign this summer. Please reach out to us if you are interested in becoming a part of the team. Thank you for your consideration and continued support. 

Recovery Pledge is a California benefit corporation, reflecting our dedication to the highest standards of ethical accountability, and our commitment to using business as a force for good.  Here is a summary of our work in 2013, Annual Public Benefit Report of Recovery Pledge, including our pursuit of the prestigious B Corporation Certification.

We wish you all a very happy and successful New Year.
Christopher and Marta Girdwood.
We had a great time connecting with 50 other start-ups, investors and entrepreneurs during the Tech Week LA in Santa Monica. See you next year!
We joined the American Express Passion Project. Feel free to check it out here!
We had a great time with all of the fellow competitors. Here is our 3 minute pitch and Q&A!
Here is our transcribed 30 second pitch that we delivered at the TechSparks event in Pasadena:

"I was working in New Orleans after the oil spill in 2010 where I witnessed the sharp decline in sales that small businesses face after the disaster.

We designed Recovery Pledge to solve this problem by connecting you, a consumer, with small businesses in need. For example, instead of buying that kitchen table from a big box retailer - we want you to buy it from a small business in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina. By stabilizing small businesses - we’ve stabilized the economic engines of cities.

Thank you."

For the Motor City, supporting the local auto shops simply makes sense. JG Auto received our Small Business Obsessed perk, which is a life-time membership to Recovery Pledge. Nice!


Want to feature your own favorite small business on our blog?
Purchase one of our Indiegogo perks, then send us a picture at

It's exciting. The idea of letting consumers take the lead in disaster recovery is one step closer to reality.  We are very happy to partner with Indiegogo and the Phillips Innovation Fellows. Let's see what we can achieve in 40 days!

Check out the pitch video, available perks and the complete campaign.

Support us here

With warm regards,
Christopher and the Recovery Pledge team

We're less than two weeks away from our Indiegogo launch date. We're excited to share our press kit, business plan and pitch deck with you all. Feel free to give it a look and let us know what you think.

Greatly appreciate your support so far and stay tuned for more updates!

Recovery Pledge