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One more hour? Dating app Hinge fronts USD 1M to tackle gen Z loneliness

Dating app Hinge is moving beyond the romantic realm to address a critical social issue: the gen Z loneliness epidemic. Launching its new One More Hour initiative with a USD 1 million fund, Hinge aims to increase real-world interactions for young adults in three US cities.

Recognizing the profound impact of face-to-face interactions on mental health and community building, One More Hour will provide grants of up to USD 25,000 to social groups in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City to help those organizations host events that get people together in person. The program's focus is on recurring meetings, activities or gatherings that nurture connection through leisure and play. The events should be inclusive and diverse, and offered to participants at no to low cost.

Applications for One More Hour grants can be submitted from 8 through 30 January 2024. To align with the needs and wants of its target demographic, Hinge will work with a group of gen Z judges to decide which projects are awarded grants. Through partnerships with DoSomething Strategic and the Foundation for Social Connection, Hinge will track the number of human connections made through the programs it funds and conduct surveys to measure their impact on participants' wellbeing.

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Over the past two decades, in-person connection time has plummeted for young adults in the US. From 2003 to 2019, those aged 15-24 spent 377 hours less per year engaging with friends and 195 hours less with 'others.' Time spent in companionship dropped by 298 hours, as traditionally communal activities were replaced by more time spent (physically) alone on phones and laptops.

These trends aren't going unrecognized, and consumers increasingly view social health as a critical aspect of their wellbeing. However, "Adding more time to connect in person with others is one of those things that's easy to say, but is actually a little challenging to do," as Josh Penny, Hinge's Director of Social Impact, points out. By addressing inconvenience, access and cost barriers related to social gatherings, the dating app is positioning itself as a facilitator of real-world interaction. Other brands: how could you nurture community and add more hours of in-person connection to young people's lives?

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