coworking for nonprofits

It might be under a different umbrella when it comes to taxes and a few other things, but running a nonprofit looks a whole lot like running a business or a startup. It’s just as difficult, and especially as you’re trying to grow, flexibility is key.

That’s something Alyssa Sharpe, CEO of Digi-Bridge in Charlotte, has found time and time again over the years. And it’s part of the reason why coworking has worked well for them as they’ve grown and changed since they became a nonprofit in 2014.

what they accomplished.

Digi-Bridge joined our #hyggefam over 4 years ago, and in our yellow walls they’ve grown and accomplished so much. Before we get too far into their story, check out just a few things they’ve done:

  • Developed a fee-for-service revenue model
  • Expanded program offerings into the community
  • Received their first multiyear commitment from Burroughs Wellcome Fund to expand robotics programming in schools
  • Launched the robotics programming for schools in Charlotte
  • Expanded educational content from 6 to 18 schools in the city
  •  Grew from 2 to 8 board members
  • Opened Innovation Alley at hygge jay street

Digi-Bridge is a nonprofit that equips shareholders with the means to foster optimal use of technology in the learning environment, ensuring that all 21st century learners have opportunities to succeed in the digital age.

That’s the official mission statement on their website, but put plainly, Digi-Bridge works with schools and educational partners in Charlotte to give kids of all ages in the area access to STEAM programming. They do this through programming, events and curriculum they develop.

the beginning.

Digi-Bridge was founded in 2014 by David Jessup when, after several years of working to get kids access to technology like computers, he realized he wanted to go deeper and figure out ways to encourage kids to create using that technology.


We wrote a whole blog post on David’s early work with Digi-Bridge, and you can find that here.

David and the Digi-Bridge team joined the hyggefam in January 2017 so they could have a space to work together as well as an accessible spot to house their equipment.

To accommodate their changing team, their need for storage and their overall vision, Digi-Bridge changed offices a few times over the years at the hygge camp north end location. Working at a small coworking location where memberships are all month-to-month, this was something they were able to do with little hassle.

Of course, Alyssa Sharpe had no idea she was taking over Digi-Bridge just a few months before a global pandemic would completely change life as we knew it. Many were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and Digi-Bridge is no different, but Alyssa says they’ve also seen more folks get interested in digital literacy because of it. 

“We did have to do a little transitioning through the pandemic as everyone did, but more people were attuned to the need for digital skills as everything went remote and online,” she says. “That’s our bread and butter.” 

So, very little slowed down for Alyssa and her team. In fact, things were kind of ramping up as Digi-Bridge explored a major partnership with two other nonprofits. Alyssa counts meeting new people in Charlotte as one of the benefits that coworking has offered her and her team.

building relationships.

It was through coworking that she met Bethany Morrison, the executive director of Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte, a nonprofit that also had an office at the hygge camp north end location. digi-bridge

Rebuilding Together focuses on making critical repairs to homes in Charlotte so homeowners aren’t forced to sell or leave their homes. They work primarily in construction, but even so, Alyssa and Beth found ways they could partner together and support each other’s organizations. (Want to learn more about Beth and the work she does with Rebuilding Together? Click here.) 

It turned out the two were in need of more space – a lot more space. They began looking for warehouses they could conduct their programming from and store the large quantity of equipment required to keep both nonprofits operating. 

“Coworking has helped us from a relationship standpoint,” Alyssa says. “You never know who you’re going to run into around here. It’s honestly how we met Rebuilding Together, just because we had offices in the same location, and now it’s turned into this beautiful long-term partnership.” 

an alignment of values.

Later, they both got connected with She Built This City, another Charlotte nonprofit that teaches construction and maker trades to young women to encourage them to go into the industry. (Want to learn more about She Built This City? Click here.)

“We are solving three very different issues, but just because of that doesn’t mean we need to operate in silos,” Alyssa says. So, the trio began working together to find a space that would meet their needs. Enter in: hygge jay street.

Even outside of connecting with other nonprofits, Alyssa and her team at Digi-Bridge often use the hygge coworking Slack channels to find volunteers for different projects and has connected with others through hygge coworking’s community event Zero Day. 

“hygge has a reputation for being a value-centric coworking space, and all the people who come to hygge have very similar values,” Alyssa says. “It’s nice going into a space knowing people here are not going to be questioning or not going to be looking down on you. No one’s better than anyone here, we’re all working on our own tangents and supporting each other. I think that’s really important, because when we associate our organization and say, “We’re in hygge,” it’s like, “Oh I’ve heard great things.” The brand recognition is really important.” 

innovation alley.

There have been many times over the years Alyssa can remember going to the hygge team and asking for something a little wild, and almost always the answer is, “Sure, we’ll figure it out.” And this happened again as the Digi-Bridge team, alongside Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte and She Built This City, continued to look for a space which would work for all of them.


In spring 2019 hygge coworking opened its fourth location in Charlotte on Jay Street near Lucky Dog Bark and Brew and right down the road from Enderly Coffee Co. The old warehouse was upfitted to house dozens of offices, an open space and a public-facing coffee shop run by Not Just Coffee. In the very back of the space, though, was a large unoccupied area with it’s own garage door access. 

With funding from Lowe’s to pay for a large warehouse space that could house all the equipment needed by the different nonprofits with space to spare for programming, the three nonprofits approached hygge coworking about using the back area of hygge jay street for exactly that. 

“There’s not a lot of parameters and when you’re building and growing and trying things out you need people in your corner that are just “yes” people, and that’s exactly what hygge is,” Alyssa says. “Which I’m sure is not easy  because sometimes they don’t know what exactly they’re saying yes to, but it’s kind of like “yes” and then ask questions later, which is very helpful.” 

In November 2020, despite the struggles of the year, the three nonprofits held their official ribbon cutting ceremony for Innovation Alley, a collaborative space to host workshops, classes and more that further each of the nonprofit’s individual missions. 

“Moving to Jay Street and opening at Innovation Alley in 2020 has been pivotal,” Alyssa says. “We truly wouldn’t be able to run programming in the pandemic without it because we needed space to make all our kits, we needed a safe location for volunteers and everyone to gather, for kids to gather. It has been just so crucial for us and so nice that it’s not just an empty warehouse with no air conditioning. It really is part of the model here and we have had great conversations with people walking by. It’s just something for us to be really proud of. It breathed a lot of life into the organization.” 

We are so proud to have Digi-Bridge, Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte and She Built This City calling our walls their home. They are three incredible organizations working to solve very serious problems in our city and beyond.

Each of these organizations needs donations and volunteers to keep doing what they do. If you are able to give in some way, please reach out to them to do so.

Click here for Digi-Bridge.

Click here for Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte.

Click here for She Built This City.

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